Attachment styles, relationship satisfaction, and relational anxiety in psychopathy

The purpose of this study is to examine group differences in attachment styles and relationship functioning among individuals with high and low psychopathic traits. It was hypothesized that individuals with high psychopathic traits would report greater incidence of dismissing attachment and a lower incidence of secure attachment, relationship satisfaction, and relational-anxiety as compared with individuals with low psychopathic traits. It was also hypothesized that high psychopathic traits will have greater negative associations with secure attachment, preoccupied attachment, fearful attachment, relationship satisfaction, and relational-anxiety, as well as a greater positive association with dismissing attachment as compared to lower levels of psychopathic traits. Procedures included recruitment of 117 undergraduate students and administration of several self-report measures. The high psychopathy group reported greater incidence of fearful attachment while the low psychopathy group reported greater incidence of secure attachment and relationship satisfaction. No significant group differences were found in relationships between psychopathy, attachment, relationship satisfaction, and relational-anxiety. Clinical implications are discussed.