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UBC Theses and Dissertations

An examination of the factor structure of the Psychopathy Checklist : Youth Version and its association with instrumental aggression among violent female youth Hutton, Erin Lisa


Female youth are a strikingly understudied population within the accumulated forensic literature which is particularly troubling since adolescent females represent a significant and growing population within forensic contexts. The Psychopathy Checklist: Youth Version (PCL:YV; Forth, Kosson, & Hare, 2003) was created to assess psychopathic traits among adolescents, which include interpersonal deceptiveness, affective deficits, and impulsive, antisocial tendencies. However, to ensure its proper use, the underlying factor structure of the PCL:YV must be determined. The primary purpose of this thesis was to examine whether the two-factor, three-factor, or four-facet model is most appropriate for female youth. This is the first study to simultaneously examine all three of the primary factor models among a North American sample of violent female youth offenders. Results demonstrated that the three-factor model is the best-fitting of the three primary PCL:YV factor models among violent female youth offenders. Further, the extant research has repeatedly demonstrated a relationship between the presence of psychopathic traits and instrumental aggression, however, researchers have only recently begun to examine this relationship among juvenile offenders, and females have often been excluded or represent only a small proportion of mixed samples. A secondary goal of the current thesis was to examine the relationship between psychopathy total, factor, and facet scores and instrumental aggression in a sample of female offenders. Contrary to previous studies on male youth, results revealed that female youth with psychopathic traits were not significantly more likely to use instrumental violence in the commission of their violent crimes. Findings and their respective research and clinical applications are discussed.

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