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An examination of MMPI/MMPI-2 correlates of Hares Psychopathy Checklist-Revised (PCL-R) scores

16 April 1999


Previous research to assess the utility of the MMPI/MMPI-2 to identify cases of psychopathy has been limited to a small number of scales, primarily Scale 4 (Pd), Scale 9 (Ma). the Antisocial Practices content scale (ASP), Gough's Socialization scale (So), and the Morey, Waugh, and Blashfield Antisocial Personality Disorder scale (ANT). This study is a more comprehensive analysis of correlations between a number of MMPI/MMPI-2 scales and indices and Cleckley's clinical conceptualization of psychopathy as measured by the Hare Psychopathy Checklist-Revised (PCL-R). A number of MMPIIMMPI-2 scales and indices were chosen based on their theoretical relation to psychopathy. Correlational analyses of 48 MMPI-2 scales, indices, and combinations of scales with PCL-R Total, Factor 1, and Factor 2 scores were performed for 3 male samples: 35 insanity acquittees from California, 48 Canadian correctional inmates, and 100 correctional inmates from Kentucky. In general, the levels of the MMPI-2 correlations with PCL-R scores obtained were not sufficiently high to make the MMPI-2 useful in predicting PCL-R scores. Many scales and indices had significant small to moderate correlations with PCL-R Total and Factor 2 scores while a few scales had small correlations with PCL-R Factor 1 scores. Significant correlations with PCL-R total and Factor 2 scores were produced primarily by MMPI-2 scales that measure Antisocial Personality Disorder and deviant behaviors in general. The results suggest that the MMPI-2, at least in terms of the scales and indices explored in this study and for criminal samples, is more a measure of the antisocial behaviors than the personality traits associated with psychopathy. However, general trends were found for MMPI-2 correlates that are informative in relation to theories of psychopathy such as Gough, Quay, and Eysenck, as well as to the properties of the MMPI-2 item pool for modeling PCL-R scores.


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