In Love with an Exploiter: How Age Affects the Harm Experienced by Romantic Partners
As a member of the Society for the Scientific Study of Psychopathy, I have presented four research posters at the group’s biennial conferences. This poster was presented at the meeting on June 6-8, 2013, in Washington, D.C.
Romantic partners of putative antisocial individuals completed an anonymous online survey. Respondents rated partners according to the criteria proposed in the first draft of the DSM-5 and answered questions about their experience, including harm suffered. In another analysis of the survey data, respondents were divided into two groups—those who were involved in youthful relationships, where both parties were between the ages of 14 and 30, and those relationships were both parties were age 31 or older. Respondents of both age groups reported two of the top characteristics, manipulativeness and callousness, at similar rates. However, all other traits—deceitfulness, narcissism, irresponsibility, impulsivity, aggression, hostility and recklessness—were reported at higher rates among the younger individuals. Comparing the youthful vs. mature involvements: Victims reported more physical abuse or injury (54% vs. 29%). They reported having their lives threatened more often (42% vs. 28%). There were more reports of the putative antisocial individual threatening suicide (31% vs. 17%). And the victims themselves more often considered suicide (46% vs. 34%). In regards to financial harm, the youthful victims more often lost their homes (36% vs. 23%), lost their jobs (31% vs. 24%) and incurred debt (69% vs. 56%).