23 April 2012

Beautiful Malice

The mental health diagnosis: "borderline personality disorder" (a.k.a. psychopathy) is controversial.

But, there are a number of good and relatively recent non-fiction and textbook treatments of the condition (e.g. Simon Baron-Cohen, "The Science of Evil" and Martha Stout's "The Sociopath Next Door" (2005); Philip Zimbardo, "The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil"; Babiak, P., and R.D. Hare, "Snakes in Suits: When Psychopaths Go to Work." (2006); Blair, R.J.R. "The emergence of psychopathy: Implications for the neuropsychological approach to developmental disorders." Cognition 101(September):414-442 (2006); Edens, J.F. "Unresolved controversies concerning psychopathy: Implications for clinical and forensic decision making." (2006); Hare, R.D., "Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of the Psychopaths Among Us." (1993); Hawes, D.J., and M.R. Dadds. "The treatment of conduct problems in children with callous–unemotional traits." Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology 73(August):737-741 (2005); HervĂ©, H., and J.C. Yuille, eds., "The Psychopath: Theory, Research, and Practice." (2007); Viding, E., J.R. Blair, et al., "Evidence for substantial genetic risk for psychopathy in 7-year-olds.", Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 46(June):592-597 (2005); Woodworth, M., and S. Porter, "In cold blood: Characteristics of criminal homicides as a function of psychopathy." Journal of Abnormal Psychology 111(August):436-445 (2002); Lyman, D.R., and L. Gudonis, "The development of psychopathy." Annual Review of Clinical Psychology 1(April):381-407 (2005)).

One recent fictional treatment of the condition that doesn't mention it by name once, but portrays a near perfect textbook case of the condition that supporters of the diagnosis say is real and makes for easier reading than an academic monograph is the novel "Beautiful Malice" by Rebecca James. While the setting is ambiguous, the portray of the havoc one can experience when one is involved in the life of someone with BPD is vivid and closely tracks the recent academic and popular non-fiction literature on the subject.


LokaSamasta said...

Dude, Psychopathy is now 'Antisocial Personality Disorder'.

Borderline PD is now 'Unstable Mood Disorder'.

andrew said...

APD overlaps, but does is not equivalent to psychopathy. APD, one of the more lame psychiatric diagnoses, also covers other kinds of ingrained habitual criminality.

I think that there is room for disagreement on how BPD maps to the DSM-IV.