Attachment style and self-esteem as predictors of psychopathic behaviour among male prison inmates

  • Maria Chidi C. Onyedibe


The study investigated the predictive relationships of attachment style and self-esteem with psychopathic behaviour among prison inmates. Three hundred and two (302) male prison inmates drawn from Enugu prisons participated in the study. They comprised both awaiting trial and convicted persons who were aged 16-65 years. Cross-sectional design was adopted for the study. Wei and colleagues (2001) Experiences in Close Relationship Scale - short version (ECR-S) was used as a measure of attachment style; Rosenberg (1965) Self esteem Scale was used to measure self esteem; and Psychoticism scale of the Eysencks Personality Questionnaire (EPQ) was adopted as a measure of psychopathic behaviour. The result of the analysis indicated a significant positive relationship between attachment style and psychopathic behaviour (p = .35, t = 6.74, P < .001). Self esteem was also shown to have a significant negative relationship with psychopathic behaviour (P = -.19, t = -.19, P < .001). The findings evidenced that insecure attachment style increased the psychopathic behaviour among prison inmates and low self esteem also predicted psychopathic behaviour. Implications of these findings to psychotherapy were discussed.