Mentalizing Impairments, Pathological Personality and Aggression in Violent Offenders

Patrizia Velotti, Guyonne Rogier, Enrico Ciavolino, Paola Pasca, Susanne Beyer, Peter Fonagy


Impairments in mentalizing abilities are thought to account for the high aggressive tendencies observed among individuals with pathological personality. However, the question of whether mentalizing impairments may mediate the pathways by which pathological personality leads to aggression has not yet been answered. This study first investigated the psychometric proprieties of the Italian version of the Reflective Functioning Questionnaire (RFQ). Then, we tested the mediating role of mentalizing in the relationship between the three pathological personality domains and aggressiveness. The study was conducted on a sample of 327 participants includinggroup of violent offenders (n=118) and a group of community participants (n=209). All subjects fulfilled the RFQ, the Personality Inventory for DSM-5 (PID-5) and the Aggression Questionnaire (AQ). Partial Least Squares–Path Modelling with higher-order construct definition was used. Mentalizing capacities were shown to significantly mediate the pathways leading some pathological personality traits to aggression. Data supported the factorial structure of the RFQ found in the original validation study. Results also support the existence of a second-order variable, mentalizing, resulting from the convergence of hypomentalizing and hypermentalizing


mentalizing; RFQ; pathological personality; aggression, offenders

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Copyright (c) 2021 Patrizia Velotti, Guyonne Rogier, Enrico Ciavolino, Paola Pasca, Susanne Beyer, Peter Fonagy

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ISSN PRINT:  2723-973X – ISSN ONLINE: 2724-2943

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