Refining the construct of psychopath: towards a hierarchical model

David J. Cooke, Christine Michie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1170 Citations (Scopus)


Psychopathy is characterized by diverse indicators. Clinical accounts have emphasized 3 distinct facets: interpersonal, affective, and behavioral. Research using the Psychopathy Checklist–Revised (PCL–R), however, has emphasized a 2-factor model. A review of the literature on the PCL–R and related measures of psychopathy, together with confirmatory factor analysis of PCL–R data from North American participants, indicates that the 2-factor model cannot be sustained. A 3-factor hierarchical model was developed in which a coherent superordinate factor, Psychopathy, is underpinned by 3 factors: Arrogant and Deceitful Interpersonal Style, Deficient Affective Experience, and Impulsive and Irresponsible Behavioral Style. The model was cross-validated on North American and Scottish PCL–R data, Psychopathy Screening Version data, and data derived from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (4th ed.; American Psychiatric Association, 1994) antisocial personality disorder field trial.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPsychological Assessment
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2001


  • PCL–R
  • psychopathy


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