An analysis of attachment style and psychopathy traits

  • Wendy Alfonso Colorado State University - Pueblo
  • Karen Yescavage Colorado State University - Pueblo
  • Sarah Wylie Colorado State University - Pueblo
Keywords: Anxious attachment, avoidant attachment, psychopathy, meanness, impulsivity


Previous research suggests there is a relationship between individuals’ insecure attachment and level of psychopathy.  However, there is little evidence indicating whether anxious or avoidant attachment is more predictive of psychopathy generally, or the two factors of psychopathy (meanness and impulsivity) specifically. A convenience sample of 137 participants was gathered to test four hypotheses. We first hypothesized that avoidant attachment in adulthood (i.e., attachments to all domains) would predict meanness, the primary factor of psychopathy; secondly, we hypothesized avoidant attachment would also predict impulsivity. Similarly, we hypothesized that anxious attachment in adulthood would predict meanness in psychopathy as well as impulsivity in psychopathy. We used a simple linear regression to test all four hypotheses. All but one hypothesis was supported. Anxious attachment served as a better predictor for both dimensions of psychopathy. Limitations and implications are discussed.

Author Biographies

Wendy Alfonso, Colorado State University - Pueblo

Bachelor's of Arts in Psychology

Karen Yescavage, Colorado State University - Pueblo

Professor of Psychology

Sarah Wylie, Colorado State University - Pueblo

Lecturer/ Adjunct Professor


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