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Revisiting the Age-Old Case of Diagnostic Confusion: Sociopath Versus Psychopath

Many forensic psychologists and criminologists use the terms sociopathy and psychopathy interchangeably. Leading experts have disagreed on whether there are meaningful differences between them.

In an article written in 1996, “Psychopathy and Antisocial Personality Disorder: A Case of Diagnostic Confusion,” Robert Hare stated his concerns regarding the DSM-III decision made to lump sociopathy or antisocial personality disorder 301.7 (ASPD) and psychopathy together. Up to that point, they had been treated as separate entities with contrasting motivational and behavioral profiles, and diagnostic criteria. “In 1980 this tradition was broken with the publication of DSM-III when psychopathy was renamed antisocial personality disorder -- was now defined by persistent violations of social norms, including lying, stealing, truancy, inconsistent work behavior and traffic arrests.”

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