Examining the Factor Structure and Convergent and Discriminant Validity of the Levenson Self-Report Psychopathy Scale: Is the Two-Factor Model the Best Fitting Model?

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Abstract

The Levenson, Kiehl, and Fitzpatrick (1995) Self-Report Psychopathy Scale (LSRP) was introduced in the mid-1990s as a brief measure of psychopathy and has since gained considerable popularity. Despite its attractiveness as a brief psychopathy tool, the LSRP has received limited research regarding its factor structure and convergent and discriminant validity. The present study examined the construct validity of the LSRP, testing both its factor structure and the convergent and discriminant validity. Using a community sample of 1,257 undergraduates (869 females; 378 males), we tested whether a 1-, 2-, or 3-factor model best fit the data and examined the links between the resultant factor structures and external correlates. Confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) findings revealed a 3-factor model best matched the data, followed by an adequate-fitting original 2-factor model. Next, comparisons were made regarding the convergent and discriminant validity of the competing 2- and 3-factor models. Findings showed the LSRP traditional primary and secondary factors had meaningful relations with extratest variables such as neuroticism, stress tolerance, and lack of empathy. The 3-factor model showed particular problems with the Callousness scale. These findings underscore the importance of examining not only CFA fit statistics but also convergent and discriminant validity when testing factor structure models. The current findings suggest that the 2-factor model might still be the best way to interpret the LSRP.

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