Alexithymia and psychopathy: comparison and application of California Q-set Prototypes.

Research paper by Mark G MG Haviland, Janet L JL Sonne, Paul A PA Kowert

Indexed on: 21 May '04Published on: 21 May '04Published in: Journal of personality assessment


Although alexithymia and psychopathy have long been linked, the relationship between the two constructs remains unclear. In this study, we used the California Q-set Alexithymia Prototype (CAQ-AP; Haviland & Reise, 1996) and Psychopathy Prototype (CAQ-PP; Reise & Oliver, 1994) to clarify the relationship between the two constructs and evaluate both in a sample of contemporary and historical political leaders (N = 42). Our data show that both individuals with prototypic alexithymia and psychopathy lack empathy and insight and are not introspective. The prototypic person with alexithymia, however, is anxious, overcontrolled, submissive, boring, ethically consistent, and socially conforming, whereas the prototypic individual with psychopathy is anxiety-free, undercontrolled, dominant, charming, deceitful, and nonconforming. Characteristics of both were relatively common among the 13 controversial and notorious leaders and relatively uncommon among the 29 generally respected leaders in the sample. The CAQ-AP and the CAQ-PP appear to be useful for evaluating alexithymic and psychopathic features in public figures.