Duhaime's Law Dictionary


Antisocial Personality Disorder Definition:

A pervasive pattern of disregard for and violation of the rights of others.

Related Terms: Personality Disorder, DSM-IV

In R v R.S.S., the Alberta Court of Appeal considered this expert evidence, which appears to be taken verbatim from the DSM-IV:

Dr. Keriem defined antisocial personality disorder as a pervasive pattern of disregard for and violation of the rights of others that begins in childhood or early adolescence and continues into adulthood.

There are four main areas to be addressed in diagnosing antisocial personality disorder, categories A, B, C, and D.

The first category, A, consists of seven characteristics, namely:

  1. failure to conform to social norms by repeatedly performing acts that are grounds for arrest, including assaultive behaviour, arson, theft, break and enter, and verbal and physical harassment;
  2. deceitfulness;
  3. impulsivity, which shows a lack of capacity to learn from mistakes;
  4. irritability and aggressiveness, which requires a pattern of conduct;
  5. reckless disregard for the safety of self or others;
  6. consistent irresponsibility, which includes school or work and social relationships; and
  7. lack of remorse as indicated by indifference to or rationalization of conduct that hurts or victimizes others.

Category B requires that the individual be a minimum of 18 years of age for the diagnosis to be made.

Category C requires evidence of Conduct Disorder prior to age 15; and D requires that there have been an occurrence of antisocial behaviour not exclusively happening during a phase of another type of mental illness.

According to the American Psychiatric Association:

"Individuals with antisocial personality disorder fail to conform to social norms with respect to lawful behavior. They may repeatedly perform acts that are grounds for arrest (whether they are arrested or not) such as destroying property, harassing others, stealing or pursuing illegal occupations. Persons with this disorder disregard the wishes, rights or feelings of others. They are frequently deceitful and manipulative... They may repeatedly lie...."1

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