An Empirical Investigation of Psychopathy in a Noninstitutionalized and Noncriminal Sample
Behavioral Sciences & the Law, Vol. 24, Issue 2 (March 2006), pp. 133-146
Posted: 18 Nov 2020
Date Written: 2006
This study examined the construct of psychopathy using the Psychopathy Checklist-Revised (PCL-R) in 54 participants from the general population. To obtain a sample of community participants with psychopathic characteristics, participants were recruited using advertisements for a "personality study" that incorporated the characteristics of psychopathy in a nonpejorative manner. The methodology successfully recruited community participants with moderately elevated PCL-R scores. Participants exhibited the personality features of psychopathy (Factor 1) to a greater extent than the behavioral features (Factor 2), which is consistent with the results obtained with the PCL-R normative samples. Roughly 40% of the sample reported no history of involvement with the criminal justice system, yet these participants exhibited moderately elevated PCL-R scores. Moreover, a sizeable portion of the noncriminal participants reported a substantial history of violent behavior. Comparisons of PCL-R scores between participants with and without a criminal history suggest that these two groups differ in ways unrelated to criminal justice system involvement.
Keywords: Violence, Patients
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