Criminal Behaviour and Mental Health

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Vol 27 (5 Issues in 2017)
Edited by: Pamela J. Taylor, David Farrington, John Gunn, Mary McMurran
Print ISSN: 0957-9664 Online ISSN: 1471-2857
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Law & Society, Psychology

May 06, 2014

Family Men: Mafia Men Are Unlikely to Suffer from Psychopathic Disorders

Mafia is a byword for organized crime and ruthless murder, yet research in Criminal Behaviour and Mental Health has found that convicted mafia men displayed fewer psychopathic traits then regular criminals, experienced fewer drug problems and were more concerned about their families.

A team led by Dr. Adriano Schimmenti suggested that the inflated self-respect and the lack of guilt often observed in former mafia members may suggest psychopathic traits.

The team interviewed mafia men imprisoned in Palermo, Italy. Thirty men convicted of mafia-related crimes from a variety of organizations and families were then compared with 39 non-mafia-related criminals.

Contrary to expectations mafia members displayed less evidence of psychopathic disorders and accounted for fewer incidences of substance abuse, compared to the other inmates. During the interviews, mafia men often expressed concerns for their children and their families, and they had never ceased to write and call them. Such expressions of attachment were less apparent among the comparison men.

“Our findings bring new hope for re-socialisation of convicted mafia members, because they showed significant antisocial traits but they maintained a capacity for emotional connection and greater likelihood of engaging with training and re-socialisation programmes than other imprisoned offenders in Italy,” said Dr. Schimmenti.