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Convergent validity of measures of psychopathy among male and female inmates

20 July 2012


One of the most important clinical constructs related to the criminal justice system is psychopathic personality, which is associated with a number of potentially dangerous outcomes in correctional and community settings. Few researchers have examined the convergent validity between self-report and clinician-administered instruments assessing psychopathic personality. The current study assessed the convergent validity of psychopathic personality utilizing the Psychopathy Checklist-Revised, Second Edition (PCL-R; Hare, 2003), the Psychopathic Personality Inventory-Revised (PPI-R; Lilienfeld & Widows, 2005), and the Antisocial Features scale of the Personality Assessment Inventory (PAI-ANT; Morey, 1991) simultaneously for the first time with a correctional population. Correlation matrices, moderator analyses, paired t-tests, and multiple linear regression analyses were utilized to examine potential sex differences and convergent validity of the PCL-R, PPI-R, and PAI-ANT with 139 male and 146 female first-time incarcerated inmates in the state of Oregon. Results indicate significant differences between males’ and females’ total scores of psychopathy on the PPI-R alone. When examined as a group, each measure demonstrated at least moderate positive relationships between each measure. When separated by sex differences, relationships were observed between all measures except male PCL-R and PAI-ANT scores. Female participants’ total scores demonstrated significant relationships on all measures, and significant differences among correlations between PCL-R and PAI-ANT, and PPI-R and PAI-ANT. Multiple linear regression analyses indicated that the PPI-R predicted PCL-R scores for the males and females as a group. However, when separated by sex, the PPI-R predicted male PCL-R scores, and the PPI-R combined with PAI-ANT significantly predicted female PCL-R scores. Overall, this sample of female inmates demonstrated stronger convergent validity on all measures and stronger predictive power on PCL-R scores than the male inmates. These findings add valuable information towards understanding the validity of these three assessment tools examining psychopathy in male and female inmates.


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