Understanding the structure of the Psychopathy Checklist - Revised: an exploration of methodological confusion

David J. Cooke, Christine Michie, Jennifer Skeem

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The PCL-R is a 20-item rating scale of traits and behaviours intended for use in a range of forensic settings. Definitions of each item are provided and evaluators rate the lifetime presence of each item on a 3-point scale (0, absent; 1, possibly or partially present; 2, definitely present) on the basis of an interview with the participant and a review of case history information. Although we give a broad verbal account of each of the chief models that have been proposed for the PCL-R (two-, three- and four-factor; see Fig. 2), given the imprecision of natural language, we stress the importance of consulting the mathematical code provided in the data supplement to the online version of this article to specify each model. It is noteworthy that this is only one possible interpretation of this set of covariances: this model has six equivalent models, all of which are equally tenable statistically but which lead to different theoretical interpretations.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBritish Journal of Psychiatry
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2007

Keywords

  • PCL-R
  • psychopathy

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