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Understanding the structure of the Psychopathy Checklist – Revised: An exploration of methodological confusion

  • David J. Cooke (a1), Christine Michie (a2) and Jennifer Skeem (a3)

Summary

Psychopathy is the key construct in the Dangerous and Severe Personality Disorder (DSPD) Programme. The Psychopathy Checklist – Revised is used as a primary means of selection for the programme. The Checklist confounds two distinct constructs – personality disorder and criminal behaviour. This confound is important both practically and theoretically. For example, under the criteria for DSPD it is necessary to demonstrate that personality disorder has afunctional link with future risk of criminal behaviour. The confound has been exacerbated recently by claims that criminal behaviour is a core feature of psychopathic disorder. This contention is based on inappropriate analytical methods. In this paper we examine the source of this confound and illustrate how inappropriate methods can mislead.

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Copyright

Corresponding author

Dr David J. Cooke, Forensic Psychology Services, Douglas Inch Centre, 2 Woodside Terrace, Glasgow G3 7UY, UK. Email djcooke@rgardens.vianw.co.uk

Footnotes

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Declaration of interest

None. Funding detailed in Acknowledgements.

Footnotes

References

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Understanding the structure of the Psychopathy Checklist – Revised: An exploration of methodological confusion

  • David J. Cooke (a1), Christine Michie (a2) and Jennifer Skeem (a3)

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