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Antisocial personality disorder: new directions

  • Jessica Yakeley and Andrew Williams


Antisocial personality disorder is a complex condition carrying high rates of comorbidity and mortality for individuals as well as harmful consequences for their families and society. Despite the publication of National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidelines for the disorder, the evidence base and provision of effective treatments remain inadequate, and the belief that the condition is untreatable remains widespread among psychiatrists and other professionals. This article highlights current diagnostic controversies and summarises the evidence for conceptualising antisocial personality disorder as a disorder of attachment. Informed by this developmental perspective, we provide a framework for the management and treatment of adults with antisocial personality disorder, highlighting the importance of creating a safe setting and recommending adaptations of therapeutic technique to facilitate the engagement of this ‘treatment-rejecting’ patient population. We conclude with an outline of the current government policy on the treatment of high-risk offenders with personality disorder.


  1. Know the current diagnostic criteria and epidemiology of antisocial personality disorder.
  2. Evaluate the evidence that antisocial personality disorder can be conceptualised as a disorder of attachment, and use a developmental framework to inform treatment interventions.
  3. Gain an understanding of psychological approaches to antisocial personality disorder.

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Corresponding author

Jessica Yakeley, Portman Clinic, 8 Fitzjohns Avenue, London NW3 5NA, UK. Email:


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  • Jessica Yakeley and Andrew Williams


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Antisocial personality disorder: new directions

  • Jessica Yakeley and Andrew Williams
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