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This article is an overview of developments in psychopathy and their application to children and adolescents. A key question is whether or not psychopathy is stable throughout the lifespan. Some characteristics indicate phenotypic similarities with adult psychopathy, and current instruments appear to be measuring similar constructs across the age ranges. Although the literature on developmental aspects of psychopathy in young people is limited, a number of instruments have been designed to measure the construct. These tools appear to have reasonable construct, concurrent and predictive validity, but we cannot yet recommend their routine use in clinical practice or in the criminal justice system, given the limited evidence base on their predictive validity. At best, they should be viewed as a means of subtyping potentially high-risk groups with a view to treatment planning.
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