Cover image for Bad boys, bad men : confronting antisocial personality disorder
Bad boys, bad men : confronting antisocial personality disorder
Black, Donald W., 1956-
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Publication Information:
New York : Oxford University Press, [1999]

Physical Description:
xvi, 240 pages ; 25 cm
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RC555 .B555 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Whether called black sheep, sociopaths, felons, con men, or misfits, some men break all the rules. They shirk everyday responsibilities, abuse drugs and alcohol, take up criminal careers, and lash out at family members. In the worst cases, they commit rape, murder, and other acts of extremeviolence as though they lack a conscience. What makes these men--men we all know, whether as faces in the news or as people close to us--behave the way they do? Bad Boys, Bad Men examines antisocial personality disorder or ASP, the mysterious mental condition that underlies this lifelong penchant for bad behavior. Psychiatrist and researcher Donald W. Black, MD, draws on case studies, scientific data, and current events to explore antisocial behavior andto chart the history, nature, and treatment of a misunderstood disorder that affects up to seven million Americans. Citing new evidence from genetics and neuroscience, Black argues that this condition is tied to biological causes and that some people are simply born bad. Bad Boys, Bad Menintroduces us to people like Ernie, the quintessential juvenile delinquent who had an incestuous relationship with his mother and descended into crime and alcoholism; and John Wayne Gacy, the notorious serial killer whose lifelong pattern of misbehavior escalated to the rape and murder of more than30 young men and boys. These compelling cases read like medical detective stories as Black tries to separate the lies these men tell from the facts of their lives. Bad Boys, Bad Men not only describes the warning signs that predict which troubled children are more likely to become dangerous adults, but also details progress toward treatment for ASP. This volume will be an essential resource for psychiatrists, psychologists, criminologists, victims of crime,families of individuals afflicted with ASP, and anyone else interested in understanding antisocial behavior.

Author Notes

Donald W. Black, MD, is Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Iowa College of Medicine in Iowa City. A graduate of Stanford University and the University of Utah School of Medicine, he has received numerous awards for teaching, research, and patient care, and is listed in "Best Doctorsin America." He writes extensively for professional audiences, and his work has been featured on 20/20, Dateline, and 48 Hours. C. Lindon Larson is a writer and editor and lives in Iowa City.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Bad boys and bad men are often related: the former are diagnosed with "conduct disorder," and then, as adults, with ASP--antisocial personality disorder. With Larson's help in the writing, psychiatrist Black addresses this book to laypersons who have to deal with men with ASP as husbands, sons, or employees. Historical review of the subject harks back to the early nineteenth century before proceeding to the work of modern investigators and to showing how diagnostic requirements have changed for ASP in the four editions of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Psychiatric Disorders. Nonconforming activity, deceit, impulsiveness, aggression, irresponsibility, and lack of remorse are the current major indicators of ASP, and neither its cause nor an effective treatment for it is known. The book's arguments are illustrated by case histories from Black's practice as well as the case of John Gacy. They demonstrate that a good lawyer may often do a man with ASP more harm than good and that, in any case, though a few improve, the outlook is generally bleak. --William Beatty

Library Journal Review

Black (psychiatry, Univ. of Iowa Coll. of Medicine) claims that ample new evidence from genetics and neuroscience supports a biological cause for antisocial personality disorder (ASP), lending truth to the adage "some people are simply born bad." ASP is intimately connected to many of society's ills, including crime, domestic violence, drug and alcohol abuse, and even rape and murder. For men with severe ASP, life becomes an opportunity to break all social and moral rules without remorse. But there are ways of detecting warning signs in troubled children, and there are proceduresÄvarious combinations of medication, psychotherapy, and social institutional interventionsÄto prevent and treat ASP. Black emphasizes the fundamental need for a healthy moral conscience by analyzing a wide variety of case studies. An excellent companion title is Adrian Raine's The Psychology of Crime: Criminal Behavior as a Clinical Disorder (Academic, 1993). An eye opener suitable for all libraries.ÄChogollah Maroufi, California State Univ., Los Angeles (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

1 A Lurking Threat: Antisocial Personality Disorder and Society
2 Searching for Answers: The Evolving Psychiatric View of Antisocial Personality Disorder
3 Bad Boys to Bad Men: The Symptoms of Antisocial Personality Disorder
4 Naming the Problem: The Diagnosis of Antisocial Personality Disorder
5 Divergent Paths: The Natural History of Antisocial Personality Disorder
6 Seeds of Despair: The Causes of Antisocial Personality Disorder
7 Overcoming Antisocial Personality Disorder: Options for Treatment
8 Power and Pretense: The Hidden Antisocials
9 The Antisocial Murderer: Gacy and Others
10 Antisocial Personality Disorder and Families: Finding Ways to Cope
Epilogue: Dispelling the Myths
Recommended Readings