Persons committing murder and other forms of violent crime are likely to exhibit a personality disorder (PD) of one type or another. Essentially any personality disorder can be associated with violent crime, with the possible exception of avoidant PD. This includes those described in DSM as well as other disorders such as
- sadistic PD and psychopathy. The latter two, along with antisocial and paranoid PDs, are the most common personality accompaniments of violent crime.
- Narcissistic traits (if not narcissistic PD (NPD) itself) are almost universal in this domain, since violent offenders usually place their own desires and urges far above those of other persons.
While admixtures of traits from several disorders are common among violent offenders, certain ones are likely to be the main disorder:
- antisocial PD, Psychopathy, Sadistic PD, Paranoid PD and NPD. Instrumental (as opposed to impulsive) spousal murders are strongly associated with NPD.
- Men committing serial sexual homicide usually show psychopathy and sadistic PD; half these men also show schizoid PD.
- Mass murderers usually show strong paranoid traits.
With a focus on murder, clinical examples drawn from the crime literature and from the author’s personal interviews reflect 14 varieties of personality disorder. Animal torture before adulthood is an important predictor of future violent (including sadistic) crime. Whereas many antisocial persons are eventually capable of rehabilitation, this is rarely the case with psychopathic or sadistic persons.