Psychopathy is a personality disorder characterized by deficits in emotional, interpersonal and behavioral functioning. This current conceptualization of the disorder includes traits such as callousness, deceitfulness, fearlessness and nonconformity. In order to determine the presence of psychopathy in an individual, certain measures exist such as the interview-based clinician rating Psychopathy Checklist-Revised (PCL-R) and the self-report Psychopathic Personality Inventory-Revised (PPI-R). These two psychopathy measures were chosen to evaluate the deceased criminal Richard Kuklinski, also known as the Iceman Killer. Kuklinski, an American contract killer for the Italian Mafia, claimed to have killed a couple hundred men before he was eventually caught in 1988. Using text sources and access to hours of interviews with Kuklinski, a case study was developed. Kuklinski scored in the 66th percentile on the PCL-R with a score lower than the accepted cut-off for psychopathy, but scored in the 88th percentile on interpersonal and emotional deficits associated with the personality disorder. The PPI-R results showed significant evidence of psychopathic traits present in him. It was concluded that Richard Kuklinski was a psychopath due to his exhibiting almost every core trait associated with psychopathy. From the research conducted, new insight was gained into both Richard Kuklinski and the extended uses of the various psychopathy models.
Semester/Year of Award
Dustin B. Wygant
Mentor Professional Affiliation
Restricted Access Thesis
Portman, Jennifer, "A Case Study in Psychopathy: Richard Kuklinski, The Iceman" (2016). Honors Theses. 328.