Article

Psychopathic, not psychopath: taxometric evidence for the dimensional structure of psychopathy.

Department of Psychology, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, TX 75275, USA.
Journal of Abnormal Psychology (Impact Factor: 4.86). 02/2006; 115(1):131-44. DOI: 10.1037/0021-843X.115.1.131
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Although psychopathy is frequently regarded as qualitatively distinct from other conditions, relatively little research has examined whether psychopaths represent a distinct class of individuals. Using a sample of 876 prison inmates and court-ordered substance abuse patients who were administered the Psychopathy Checklist-Revised (R. D. Hare, 2003), the authors examined the latent structure of psychopathy using several taxometric procedures developed by Meehl and colleagues (P. E. Meehl & L. J. Yonce, 1994; N. G. Waller & P. E. Meehl, 1998). The results across these procedures offer no compelling support for the contention that psychopathy is a taxonic construct and contradict previous reports that psychopathy is underpinned by a latent taxon. The authors discuss the theoretical, public policy, and practice-level implications of these findings.

1 Bookmark
 · 
148 Views
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Psychopathy reflects a pathological form of personality that predisposes individuals to risk for perpetration of chronic and severe violence across their lifespan. The violence attributable to psychopathic persons constitutes a substantial portion of the societal burden to the public health and criminal justice systems and thus necessitates significant attention by prevention experts. However, there is a relatively nascent literature that has examined psychopathic persons' response to treatment, especially considering violence as an outcome. Nevertheless, there have been repeated averments about the amenability (or lack thereof) of psychopathy to treatment. In the present paper, we attempt to provide a comprehensive review of studies assessing the relation of psychopathy to violence outcomes following intervention. Our review of studies suggests there is reason to suspect that specific and tailored interventions which take into consideration psychopathic persons' unique patterns of behavioral conditioning and predispositions may have the potential to reduce violence. However, equally important, certain interventions may potentially exacerbate these persons' violent behavior. The nature of the outcomes is likely highly dependent on the specific components of the intervention itself. We conclude that future research should increase methodological rigor by striving to include treatment control groups and increasing the transparency of the implemented interventions.
    Aggression and Violent Behavior 09/2013; 18(5):527-538. · 1.95 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: In this study, we examined subgroups of adolescents based on their levels of psychopathic traits and anxiety. Participants were 914 youths from a community sample, with a mean age of 14.28 (SD = .94) years. We used adolescents' self-reports of psychopathic traits and their parents' reports of the adolescent's anxiety to identify distinct subgroups of youths. Using latent class analysis, we identified five groups that varied in levels of psychopathic traits and anxiety. Two groups were characterized by high levels of psychopathic traits and high or low scores on anxiety. Validation of these subgroups revealed that they differed significantly from each other in theoretically meaningful ways-the low-anxious subgroup reported higher levels of psychopathic traits, lower levels of impulsivity and hyperactivity, and lower levels of aggression than the high-anxious group. These findings are in line with previous empirical research and provide support that anxiety discriminates between two subgroups of adolescents with psychopathic traits.
    Journal of Adolescence 03/2014; · 2.05 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The recent debate over the moral responsibility of psychopaths has centered on whether, or in what sense, they understand moral requirements. In this paper, I argue that even if they do understand what morality requires, the content of their actions is not of the right kind to justify full-blown blame. I advance two independent justifications of this claim. First, I argue that if the psychopath comes to know what morality requires via a route that does not involve a proper appreciation of what it means to cause another harm or distress, the content of violations of rules against harm will be of a lower grade than the content of similar actions by normal individuals. Second, I argue that in order to intend a harm to a person-that is, to intend the distinctive kind of harm that can only befall a person-it is necessary to understand what personhood is and what makes it valuable. The psychopath's deficits with regard to mental time travel ensure that s/he cannot intend this kind of harm.
    Philosophical Psychology 06/2014; 27(3):351-367. · 0.59 Impact Factor

Full-text (2 Sources)

View
424 Downloads
Available from
May 23, 2014