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

See all articles by David DeMatteo

David DeMatteo

Drexel University Thomas R. Kline School of Law

Kirk Heilbrun

Drexel University

Geoffrey Marczyk

Independent

Date Written: 2006

Abstract

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

Suggested Citation

DeMatteo, David and Heilbrun, Kirk and Marczyk, Geoffrey, An Empirical Investigation of Psychopathy in a Noninstitutionalized and Noncriminal Sample (2006). Behavioral Sciences & the Law, Vol. 24, Issue 2 (March 2006), pp. 133-146, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3594405

David DeMatteo (Contact Author)

Drexel University Thomas R. Kline School of Law ( email )

3320 Market Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States

Kirk Heilbrun

Drexel University ( email )

3141 Chestnut St
Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States

Geoffrey Marczyk

Independent ( email )

1130 Nottingham Dr.
19380
610-662-9967 (Phone)

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