Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa
  • Get access
    Check if you have access via personal or institutional login
  • Cited by 33
  • Cited by
    This article has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    Beaver, Kevin M. Al-Ghamdi, Mohammed Said Kobeisy, Ahmed Nezar Alqurashi, Fathiyah H. Connolly, Eric J. and Schwartz, Joseph A. 2016. The Association Between Psychopathic Personality Traits and Victimization and Exposure to Violence in a Sample of Saudi Arabian Youth. Psychiatric Quarterly, Vol. 87, Issue. 2, p. 217.

    Longman, Thea Hawes, David J. and Kohlhoff, Jane 2016. Callous–Unemotional Traits as Markers for Conduct Problem Severity in Early Childhood: A Meta-analysis. Child Psychiatry & Human Development, Vol. 47, Issue. 2, p. 326.

    Mikolajewski, Amy J. Bobadilla, Leonardo and Taylor, Jeanette 2016. Encyclopedia of Adolescence.

    Muratori, Pietro Lochman, John E. Manfredi, Azzurra Milone, Annarita Nocentini, Annalaura Pisano, Simone and Masi, Gabriele 2016. Callous unemotional traits in children with disruptive behavior disorder: Predictors of developmental trajectories and adolescent outcomes. Psychiatry Research, Vol. 236, p. 35.

    Tackett, Jennifer L. Herzhoff, Kathrin Balsis, Steve and Cooper, Luke 2016. Developmental Psychopathology.

    Fox, Bryanna H. Jennings, Wesley G. and Farrington, David P. 2015. Bringing psychopathy into developmental and life-course criminology theories and research. Journal of Criminal Justice, Vol. 43, Issue. 4, p. 274.

    Kennedy, Patrick J. Kelly, Thomas P. Grigor, Joanne Vale, Ellen L.E. Mason, Claire L. and Caiazza, Roberta 2015. Personality features of an adolescent female offending population. The Journal of Forensic Psychiatry & Psychology, Vol. 26, Issue. 3, p. 297.

    McKenzie, Meghan E. and Lee, Steve S. 2015. Cognitive Ability and Psychopathic Traits: Independent and Interactive Associations with Youth Conduct Problems. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, Vol. 43, Issue. 4, p. 761.

    Pabian, Sara De Backer, Charlotte J.S. and Vandebosch, Heidi 2015. Dark Triad personality traits and adolescent cyber-aggression. Personality and Individual Differences, Vol. 75, p. 41.

    Reidy, Dennis E. Kearns, Megan C. DeGue, Sarah Lilienfeld, Scott O. Massetti, Greta and Kiehl, Kent A. 2015. Why psychopathy matters: Implications for public health and violence prevention. Aggression and Violent Behavior, Vol. 24, p. 214.

    Tamatea, Armon J. 2015. ‘Biologizing’ Psychopathy: Ethical, Legal, and Research Implications at the Interface of Epigenetics and Chronic Antisocial Conduct. Behavioral Sciences & the Law, Vol. 33, Issue. 5, p. 629.

    Beaver, Kevin M. da Silva Costa, Christian Poersch, Ana Paula Freddi, Micheli Cristina Stelmach, Mônica Celis Connolly, Eric J. and Schwartz, Joseph A. 2014. Psychopathic Personality Traits and Their Influence on Parenting Quality: Results from a Nationally Representative Sample of Americans. Psychiatric Quarterly, Vol. 85, Issue. 4, p. 497.

    Frick, Paul J. Ray, James V. Thornton, Laura C. and Kahn, Rachel E. 2014. Annual Research Review: A developmental psychopathology approach to understanding callous-unemotional traits in children and adolescents with serious conduct problems. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, Vol. 55, Issue. 6, p. 532.

    López-Romero, Laura Romero, Estrella and Villar, Paula 2014. Assessing the Stability of Psychopathic Traits: Adolescent Outcomes in a Six-Year Follow-Up. The Spanish Journal of Psychology, Vol. 17,

    Dhingra, Katie and Boduszek, Daniel 2013. Psychopathy and criminal behaviour: a psychosocial research perspective. Journal of Criminal Psychology, Vol. 3, Issue. 2, p. 83.

    Fanti, Kostas. Hadjicharalambous, Maria-Zoe and Katsimicha, Evita 2013. Adolescent Callous-Unemotional Traits Mediates the Longitudinal Association between Conduct Problems and Media Violence Exposure. Societies, Vol. 3, Issue. 3, p. 298.

    Fanti, Kostas A. 2013. Individual, Social, and Behavioral Factors Associated with Co-Occurring Conduct Problems and Callous-Unemotional Traits. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, Vol. 41, Issue. 5, p. 811.

    Houghton, Stephen Hunter, Simon C. Khan, Umneea and Tan, Carol 2013. Interpersonal and Affective Dimensions of Psychopathic Traits in Adolescents: Development and Validation of a Self-Report Instrument. Child Psychiatry & Human Development, Vol. 44, Issue. 1, p. 51.

    Ribeiro da Silva, Diana Rijo, Daniel and Salekin, Randall T. 2013. Child and adolescent psychopathy: Assessment issues and treatment needs. Aggression and Violent Behavior, Vol. 18, Issue. 1, p. 71.

    Talkington, Vanessa Hughes, Tammy L. and Gacono, Carl B. 2013. Vulnerabilities in a School-Based Conduct Disorder Sample as Identified by the Rorschach and PCL: YV. Rorschachiana, Vol. 34, Issue. 1, p. 83.


The stability of psychopathy across adolescence

  • Donald R. Lynam (a1), Richard Charnigo (a2), Terrie E. Moffitt (a3), Adrian Raine (a4), Rolf Loeber (a5) and Magda Stouthamer-Loeber (a5)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 14 October 2009

The current diagnostic system suggests that personality disorder categories be applied to children and adolescents in rare circumstances because of expected changes in personality pathology across development. The present study examined the stability in personality pathology, specifically psychopathy, across childhood and adolescence. Using a short form of the CPS and mixed models incorporating fixed and random effects, we examined the reliability, individual stability, mean-level stability, and predictive utility of juvenile psychopathy as a function of age (i.e., from 7 to 17 years old) in over 1,500 boys from the three cohorts of the Pittsburgh Youth Study. If adolescent development contributes to instability in personality pathology, large age-related fluctuations in reliability, stability, and predictive utility should be observed, particularly in the latter part of adolescence when normative changes are hypothesized to influence levels of psychopathy. Such fluctuations were not observed. In general, juvenile psychopathy could be reliably assessed beginning in childhood, was fairly stable across short and long intervals, showed little mean-level fluctuation, and predicted delinquency across adolescence. These results suggest that concerns about large changes in personality pathology across childhood and adolescence may be overstated. Implications and future directions are discussed.

Corresponding author
Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Donald R. Lynam, Purdue University, Department of Psychological Sciences, 703 Third Street, West Lafayette, IN 47907-2081; E-mail:
Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

R. J. R. Blair , & M. Coles (2001). Expression recognition and behavioural problems in early adolescence. Cognitive Development, 15, 421434.

H. Bozdogan (1987). Model selection and Akaike's information criterion (AIC): The general theory and its analytical extensions. Psychometrika, 52, 345370.

J. Brandt , W. Kennedy , C. Patrick , & J. Curtin (1997). Assessment of psychopathy in a population of incarcerated adolescent offenders. Psychological Assessment, 9, 429435.

C. A. Brinkley , W. A. Schmitt , S. S. Smith , & J. P. Newman (2001). Construct validation of a self-report psychopathy scale: Does Levenson's Self-Report Psychopathy Scale measure the same constructs as Hare's Psychopathy Checklist—Revised? Personality and Individual Differences, 31, 10211038.

A. Caspi , J. Block , J. H. Block , B. Klopp , D. Lynam , T. E. Moffitt , (1992). A “common language” version of the California Child Q-Set (CCQ) for personality assessment. Psychological Assessment, 4, 512523.

R. Catchpole , & H. M. Gretton (2003). The predictive validity of risk assessment with violent young offenders: A 1-year examination of criminal outcome. Criminal Justice and Behavior, 30, 688708.

R. E. Christian , P. J. Frick , N. L. Hill , & L. Tyler (1997). Psychopathy and conduct problems in children: II. Implications for subtyping children with conduct problems. Journal of the American Academy of Child Psychiatry, 36, 233241.

R. R. Corrado , G. M. Vincent , S. D. Hart , & I. M. Cohen (2004). Predictive validity of the Psychopathy Checklist: Youth Version for General and Violent Recidivism. Behavioral Sciences and the Law, 22, 522.

J. F. Edens , J. L. Skeem , K. R. Cruise , & E. Cauffman (2001). Assessment of “juvenile psychopathy” and its association with violence: A critical review. Behavioral Sciences and the Law, 19, 5380.

P. Enebrink , H. S. Andersen , & N. Langstrom (2005). Callous–unemotional traits are associated with clinical severity in referred boys with conduct problems. Nordic Journal of Psychiatry, 59, 431440.

D. M. Falkenbach , N. G. Poythress , & K. M. Heide (2003). Psychopathic features in a juvenile diversion population: Reliability and predictive validity of two self-report measures. Behavioral Sciences and the Law, 21, 787805.

P. Frick (2002). Juvenile psychopathy from a developmental perspective: Implications for construct development and use in forensic assessments. Law and Human Behavior, 26, 247253.

P. Frick , A. Cornell , C. Barry , S. Bodin , & H. Dane (2003). Callous–unemotional traits and conduct problems in the prediction of conduct problem severity, aggression, and self-report of delinquency. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 31, 457470.

P. J. Frick , E. R. Kimonis , D. M. Dandreaux , & J. M. Farell (2003). The 4-year stability of psychopathic traits in non-referred youth. Behavioral Science Law, 21, 713736.

P. J. Frick , B. S. O'Brien , J. M. Wootton , & K. McBurnett (1994). Psychopathy and conduct problems in children. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 103, 700707.

M. T. Fung , A. Raine , R. Loeber , D. R. Lynam , S. R. Steinhauer , P. H. Venables , & M. Stouthamer-Loeber (2005). Reduced electrodermal activity in psychopathy-prone adolescents. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 114, 187196.

H. M. Gretton , M. McBride , R. D. Hare , R. O'Shaughnessy , & G. Kumka (2001). Psychopathy and recidivism in adolescent sex offenders. Criminal Justice and Behavior, 28, 427449.

L. C. Gudonis , D. J. Miller , J. D. Miller , & D. R. Lynam (2008). Conceptualizing personality disorders from a general model of personality functioning: Antisocial personality disorder and the Five-Factor Model. Personality and Mental Health, 2, 249264.

J. Junger-Tas , & I. H. Marshall (1999). The self report methodology in crime research. Crime and Justice: A Review of Research, 25, 291365.

D. S. Kosson , T. D. Cyterski , B. L. Steuerwald , C. S. Neumann , & S. Walker-Matthews (2002). The reliability and validity of the Psychopathy Checklist: Youth Version (PCL:YV) in nonincarcerated adolescent males. Psychological Assessment, 14, 97109.

J. S. Kotler , & R. J. McMahon (2005). Child psychopathy: Theories, measurement, and relations with the development and persistence of conduct problems. Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review, 8, 291325.

D. R. Lynam (1997). Pursuing the psychopath: Capturing the fledgling psychopath in a nomological net. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 106, 425438.

D. R. Lynam , A. Caspi , T. E. Moffit , A. Raine , R. Loeber , & M. Stouthamer-Loeber (2005). Adolescent psychopathy and the Big Five: Results from two samples. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 33, 431443.

D. R. Lynam , A. Caspi , T. E. Moffitt , R. Loeber , & M. Stouthamer-Loeber (2007). Longitudinal evidence that psychopathy scores in early adolescence predict adult psychopathy. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 116, 155165.

D. R. Lynam , K. J. Derefinko , A. Caspi , R. Loeber , & M. Stouthamer-Loeber (2007). The content validity of juvenile psychopathy: An empirical examination. Psychological Assessment, 19, 363367.

D. R. Lynam , & L. Gudonis (2005). The development of psychopathy. Annual Review of Clinical Psychology, 1, 381407.

D. R. Lynam , R. Loeber , & M. Stouthamer-Loeber (2008). The stability of psychopathy from adolescence into adulthood: The search for moderators. Criminal Justice and Behavior, 35, 228243.

D. R. Lynam , & T. Widiger (2001). Using the five factor model to represent the personality disorders: An expert consensus approach. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 110, 401412.

D. R. Lynam , & T. A. Widiger (2007). Using a general model of personality to identify the basic elements of psychopathy. Journal of Personality Disorders, 21, 160178.

R. R. McCrae , P. T. Costa , & T. A. Martin (2005). The NEO-PI-3: A more readable revised NEO personality inventory. Journal of Personality Assessment, 84, 261270.

J. D. Miller , D. R. Lynam , T. A. Widiger , & C. Leukefeld (2001). Personality disorders as extreme variants of common personality dimensions: Can the five-factor model adequately represent psychopathy? Journal of Personality, 69, 253276.

D. C. Murrie , D. G. Cornell , S. Kaplan , D. McConville , & A. Levy-Elkon (2004). Psychopathy scores and violence among juvenile offenders: A multi-measure study. Behavioral Sciences and the Law, 22, 4967.

B. S. O'Brien , & P. J. Frick (1996). Reward dominance: Associations with anxiety, conduct problems, and psychopathy in children. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 24, 223240.

J. R. Ogloff , S. Wong , & A. Greenwood (1990). Treating criminal psychopaths in a Therapeutic Community program. Behavioral Sciences and the Law, 8, 181190.

D. W. Osgood , J. K. Wilson , P. M. O'Malley , J. G. Bachman , & L. D. Johnston (1996). Routine activities and individual deviant behavior. American Sociological Review, 61, 635655.

A. Piatigorsky , & S. P. Hinshaw (2004). Psychopathic traits in boys with and without attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: Concurrent and longitudinal correlates. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 32, 535550.

S. Porter , A. Birt , & D. P. Boer (2001). Investigation of the criminal and conditional release profiles of Canadian federal offenders as a function of psychopathy and age. Law and Human Behavior, 25, 647661.

B. W. Roberts , & W. F. DelVecchio (2000). The rank-order consistency of personality traits from childhood to old age: A quantitative review of longitudinal studies. Psychological Bulletin, 126, 325.

M. Rutherford , J. S. Cacciola , A. I. Alterman , J. R. McKay , & T. G. Cook (1999). The 2-year test-retest reliability of the Psychopathy Checklist—Revised in methadone patients. Assessment, 6, 285291.

R. T. Salekin (2002). Psychopathy and therapeutic pessimism: Clinical lore or clinical reality? Clinical Psychology Review, 22, 79112.

R. T. Salekin , & P. J. Frick (2005). Psychopathy in children and adolescents: The need for a developmental perspective. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 33, 403409.

R. T. Salekin , A.-M. R. Leistico , C. S. Neumann , T. M. DiCicco , & R. L. Duros (2004). Psychopathy and comorbidity in a young offender sample: Taking a closer look at psychopathy's potential importance over disruptive behavior disorders. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 113, 416427.

R. T. Salekin , A.-M. R. Leistico , K. K. Trobst , C. L. Schrum , & J. E. Lochman (2005). Adolescent psychopathy and personality theory-the interpersonal circumplex: Expanding evidence of a nomological net. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 33, 445460.

L. M. Saulsman , & A. C. Page (2004). The five-factor model and personality disorder empirical literature: A meta-analytic review. Clinical Psychology Review, 23, 10551085.

D. Seagrave , & T. Grisso (2002). Adolescent development and the measurement of juvenile psychopathy. Law and Human Behavior, 26, 219239.

R. Shiner (1998). How shall we speak of children's personalities in middle childhood? A preliminary taxonomy. Psychological Bulletin, 124, 308332.

S. E. Spain , K. S. Douglas , N. G. Poythress , & M. Epstein (2004). The relationship between psychopathic features, violence and treatment outcome: The comparison of three youth measures of psychopathic features. Behavioral Sciences and the Law, 22, 85102.

E. Stafford , & D. G. Cornell (2003). Psychopathy scores predict adolescent inpatient aggression. Assessment, 10, 102112.

L. Steinberg (2008). A social neuroscience perspective on adolescent risk-taking. Developmental Review, 28, 78106.

T. J. Trull , T. A. Widiger , D. R. Lynam , & P. T. Costa (2003). Borderline personality disorder from the perspective of general personality functioning. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 112, 193202.

G. D. Walters (2003). Predicting institutional adjustment and recidivism with the psychopathy checklist factor scores: A meta-analysis. Law and Human Behavior, 27, 541558.

M. Wiesner , & R. K. Silbereisen (2003). Trajectories of delinquent behaviour in adolescence and their covariates: Relations with initial and time-averaged factors. Journal of Adolescence, 26, 753771.

M. Windle , E. Mun , & R. C. Windle (2005). Adolescent-to-young adulthood heavy drinking trajectories and their prospective predictors. Journal of Studies on Alcohol, 66, 313322.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Development and Psychopathology
  • ISSN: 0954-5794
  • EISSN: 1469-2198
  • URL: /core/journals/development-and-psychopathology
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *