Antisocial personality disorder is characterized by continuous disregard for the safety of oneself and others and violation of the rights of others, without feeling remorse. Individuals with this disorder are unreliable, manipulative, incapable of lasting relationships, and unable to conform to social norms. The disorder starts early (before the age of 15), is pervasive, and manifests in variety of contexts. Although social deviance is one of the core features of antisocial personality disorder, it is not synonymous with criminality.
Antisocial personality disorder uncomplicated by other disorders is not often met in clinical settings, except forensic psychiatry. However, owing to its impact on family and social environment, it has major public health significance and has been extensively studied in academic psychiatry, psychoanalysis, law, sociology, theology, and literature.
Antisocial behaviour resulting from mental disturbance was recognized early, by Pinel, Pritchard, Lombroso, Koch, Kraepelin, and others. It was labelled manie sans délire, moral insanity, moral mania, born criminality, and constitutional psychopathic inferiority. The terms used in the past, and still appearing today (sociopathy, psychopathy, deviant, amoral, dissocial and asocial personalities), indicated either disorder of personality or disorder based on behaviour that was unacceptable to the societal norms.
Cleckley's seminal work The Mask of San/'ty(l2) is considered to be the basic text on antisocial personality disorder. Cleckley differentiated psychopathic personality from criminality and social deviance and strongly influenced the DSM-I concept of 'sociopathic personality disturbance' as well as the description of antisocial personality disorder in DSM-II.
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