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Using the Psychopathic Personality Inventory to identify subtypes of antisocial personality disorder

Jennifer Cox, John F. Edens, Melissa S. Magyar, Scott O. Lilienfeld, Kevin S. Douglas & Norman G. Poythress.

Journal of Criminal Justice; Available online 10 January 2013




Poythress, Edens, et al. (2010) recently used cluster analysis to identify subtypes of antisocial and psychopathic offenders using a diverse collection of theoretically important clustering variables. Two predicted subtypes, primary and secondary psychopathy, were identified, in addition to non-psychopathic and (unexpectedly) "fearful" psychopathic offenders. The purpose of the present research was to determine whether these clusters could be replicated using a single self-report measure, the Psychopathic Personality Inventory (PPI; Lilienfeld & Andrews, 1996).


Method: Study 1

We used discriminant function analysis (DFA) to predict cluster membership for the Poythress et al. subtypes based solely on the eight subscales of the PPI.


Results: Study 1

Though overall classification accuracy with the original clusters was poor, PPI-derived subtypes differed from each other in theoretically consistent ways on several criterion measures.


Method: Study 2

We used the PPI-based DFA to classify a separate sample of prison inmates from a prior PPI study (Edens et al., 2008).


Results: Study 2

As predicted, inmates classified into the secondary psychopathy subgroup demonstrated the highest rates of aggressive misconduct whereas non-psychopathic were the least prone to engage in misconduct.



The PPI may serve as a relatively simple method of identifying theoretically meaningful subtypes of psychopathic offenders.




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