Telltale Signs of Antisocial Personality Disorder

People affected by antisocial personality disorder have an overall disregard for the rights and concerns of others. These traits usually become apparent by the age of 15 years old.

According to the U. S. National Library of Medicine, an antisocial personality diagnosis can only be made when a person meets at least three of the following seven criteria:

  • Reckless behavior
  • Inability to plan ahead
  • Defies social norms
  • Deceitful behavior
  • No concern for the welfare of others
  • Irritability
  • Aggressive behavior

The Four-Factor Model

personality disorder types

Antisocial personality disorder causes several telltale traits, including impulsivity and lack of regard for societal norms.

Antisocial personality disorder embodies the overall definition of psychopathic or sociopathic behavior. The four-factor model lays out the four key patterns that run through the antisocial mindset:

  • Interpersonal factor
  • Impulsive lifestyle factor
  • Affective factor
  • Antisocial factor

Within interpersonal relationships, someone with antisocial personality disorder typically displays an air of superficial charm, which works to entice others, while lying and manipulation lie at the heart of his or her intentions. The affective factor has to do with a person’s display of emotions. With antisocial personality, shallowness, rudeness and an overall lack of remorse prevail.

The impulsive lifestyle factor points to a tendency towards reckless, “thrill-seeking” behaviors with no sense of accountability towards others. An overall tendency towards rule breaking best describes the antisocial root of the disorder.

Telltale Signs


People affected by antisocial personality disorder have an all-encompassing desire to control others without any sense of empathy or concern for the well-being of others. A strong need for independence drives these controlling behaviors, which act as countermeasures or ways to prevent others from controlling them. Antisocial personality disorder types will not hesitate to use aggression as a mean for backing up their need to control.

Selfish Motivations

Not unlike narcissistic personality disorder types, selfish motivations lie at the heart of the antisocial personality disorder mindset. Antisocial personality differs from narcissistic types in that a person will do whatever is necessary to ensure his or her needs are met, whereas narcissistic types assume a sense of entitlement without the need for force. With antisocial personality disorder, the use of force also works to take away any sense of power others may “think” they have.


The “charming” demeanor typically displayed with antisocial personality disorder provides a type of offensive strategy for disarming others. This disarming approach leaves the antisocial type wide open for employing any number of tactics for getting what he or she wants. With no regard for the well-being of others, lying, manipulation and deceit come easily in the pursuit of a desired outcome.

Risk Factors

According to the Mayo Clinic, certain risk factors may increase the likelihood a person will develop antisocial personality disorder. In effect, risk factors become the events, experiences and/or conditions that trigger the antisocial mindset.

Risk factors to watch out for include:

  • Chaotic childhood upbringing
  • Family history of mental illness or antisocial disorder in particular
  • Being diagnosed with a childhood conduct disorder
  • Experiencing physical, verbal or sexual abuse in childhood
  • The traumatic loss of one’s parents

In terms of men versus women, the risk of developing antisocial personality is higher for men.


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