Blame attribution and guilt feelings in violent offenders




Malte Johnsson, Benny Andersson, Märta Wallinius, Björn Hofvander, Ola Ståhlberg, Henrik Anckarsäter, Eva Billstedt & Susanna Radovic

The Journal of Forensic Psychiatry & Psychology

07 Apr 2014



Offenders with high psychopathic traits and/or antisocial personality disorder (ASPD) are hypothesised to experience less guilt and less responsibility for their actions than offenders without these problems. These hypotheses were tested and partly substantiated. The study investigates blame attributions and guilt feeling using Gudjonsson Blame Attribution Inventory–Revised (GBAI-R) for 177 young male violent offenders. GBAI scores were compared to ASPD and psychopathy according to the Psychopathy Checklist–Revised. Results showed that individuals with ASPD and those with higher degrees of psychopathy tended to report significantly less guilt and higher degree of mental control than other subjects. Another finding was a weak relationship between ASPD, high scores on psychopathic traits and external attribution. We suggest these results might be explained by admitting poor mental control may be extra difficult for individuals belonging to either of these groups and that the external attribution items do not separate causal from moral responsibility.