Applicability of traditional and revised models of psychopathy to the Psychopathy Checklist: screening version

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Psychology



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Medical Subject Headings

Adult; Factor Analysis, Statistical; Female; Humans; Male; *Mental Disorders; Reproducibility of Results




Recently, psychopathy has become virtually synonymous with the Psychopathy Checklist (PCL) measures. However, the "gold standard" 2-factor model that underlines these measures has been questioned for its uncertain empirical support and emphasis on antisocial behavior that is not specific to psychopathic personality deviation. This study (N = 870 civil psychiatric patients) compares the fit of the traditional 2-factor model with that of a revised 3-factor model of psychopathy. The revised model better describes the structure of the Screening Version of the PCL (PCL:SV) than the traditional model. Although the revised model's exclusion of some items that assess antisocial behavior reduces the PCL:SV's power in predicting patient violence, this model arguably assesses psychopathy in a more specific, theoretically coherent fashion that may reduce misapplications of the construct. Implications for future research are discussed.

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Citation: Psychol Assess. 2003 Mar;15(1):41-55.

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