Master's Theses

Document Type


Date of Award

Spring 2018

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)




Dr. W. Trey Hill


Psychopathy has been related to overall negative perceptions of others in past research, but the reason for these negative attitudes is unclear. The current study investigated the relationship between psychopathy and attitudes toward others and attempted to explain these negative attitudes by testing empathy and early maladaptive schemas as mediators and social dominance orientation as a moderator for this relationship. There were 191 participants in the current study; participants first read a short story and took a scale assessing attitudes toward the characters; then, they completed the Interpersonal Reactivity Index, the SDO7, the Young Schema Questionnaire-SF, and the Levenson Self-Report Psychopathy Scale, in that order. Psychopathy was significantly negatively related to empathy and attitudes toward the characters and significantly positively related to social dominance orientation and early maladaptive schemas. Both empathy and early maladaptive schemas partially mediated the relationship between psychopathy and attitudes toward others. These results help to clarify some of the questions surrounding the interpersonal functioning of individuals high in psychopathy and could potentially be used to help create interventions to address these interpersonal deficiencies.


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© 2018 Arianne Fisher

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