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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

Volume 41, Issue 2, March–April 2013, Pages 125–134




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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