EXAMINING PSYCHOPATHY ON A CONTINUUM AND THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN ANXIETY AND PREMEDITATION METHODS OF SERIAL OFFENDERS
Psychopathy is a personality disorder that is characterized by a failure to inhibit impulsive behavior and emotional deficits in personality. Previous literature has depicted psychopathy as an untreatable personality disorder stemming from Cleckley’s research, case studies, and literature such as The Mask of Sanity indicating that psychopaths do not experience neurotic symptoms such as anxiety, depression, or any other disorders that contain an abundance of emotions or “feelings”. Due to Cleckley’s research and case studies proving less concise in determining that psychopaths do not experience anxiety, there is room for interpretation in regards to how psychopaths experience neurotic manifestations such as anxiety and the intensity, duration, and motivation behind it; stemming from anticipatory anxiety and persisting throughout premeditation methods, various crimes, and continuing in a cycle. Through the use of case studies, interviews, and archival data from different infamous serial offenders such as John Wayne Gacy, Westley Allan Dodd, and Edmund Kemper, psychopathic traits and premeditation methods in regards to anxiety are examined. An anxiety and psychopathy checklist was created to determine what symptoms that appear psychopathic may coincide with anxiety and to exemplify how anxiety symptoms may be exhibited differently in psychopaths.
A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in Forensic Psychology