The Latent Structure of Psychopathy in Male Adjudicated Delinquents: A Cross-Domain Taxometric Analysis

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The purpose of this study was to conduct a cross-domain taxometric analysis of the psychopathy construct using data from a popular rating scale and self-report inventory. A baseline measure of the 2 factor scores from the Psychopathy Checklist: Youth Version (PCL:YV: Forth, Kosson, & Hare, 2003) and Wave 1 (6-months postbaseline) measures of the Grandiose/Manipulative, Callous/Unemotional, and Impulsive/Irresponsible scales of the Youth Psychopathic Traits Inventory (YPI: Andershed, Kerr, Stattin, & Levander, 2002) were obtained from 1,162 male delinquents. Correlational analyses showed that the rating (PCL:YV) and self-report (YPI) measures were likely assessing the same construct and correlated sufficiently well (mean r = .30) to permit a cross-domain taxometric analysis. Taxometric analyses provided consistent support for continuous latent structure, even when the Grandiose-Manipulative and Callous-Unemotional scales of the YPI were combined in an effort to mirror Factor 1 of the PCL:YV. Whereas previous taxometric research using either rating or self-report indicators has favored a continuous view of psychopathy, this is the first study to investigate the latent structure of psychopathy using rating and self-report indicators in the same analysis. The results of this study suggest that psychopathy is organized along a continuum (more or less psychopathy) rather than grouping individuals into discrete categories (psychopath vs. nonpsychopath).

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