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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Development and validation of a new scale for the assessment of psychopathy Hart, Stephen D.


A review of the construct of psychopathy suggested that procedures for assessing the disorder should take into account its two-facet structure, its chronicity, its association with criminality, and its association with deceitfulness. A review of the five most popular assessment procedures currently in use indicated that none of them was completely satisfactory; the Hare Psychopathy Checklist-Revised (PCL-R) appeared to be superior to the other measures in most respects, but it was not well-suited for use outside of forensic settings. It was therefore decided to develop anew scale, based on the PCL-R, that would be suitable for both forensic and nonforensic settings. Pilot testing resulted in a 12-item symptom construct rating scale, named the Psychopathy Checklist: Screening Version (PCL:SV). The PCL:SV was validated in 11 samples (N = 586) from forensic/nonpsychiatric, forensic/psychiatric, civil/psychiatric, and civil/nonpsychiatric settings. Results indicated that the PCL:SV had good internal consistency, interrater reliability, and temporal stability. The scale also appeared to have a two-factor structure, at least in samples with an appreciable base rate of psychopathy. The PCL:SV was highly correlated with other psychopathy-related measures, including the PCL-R, antisocial personality disorder symptom counts, and several self-report scales. It also had a pattern of convergent and discriminant validities that was consistent with both theory and previous research that used the PCL-R. It was concluded that the PCL:SV holds considerable promise as a measure of psychopathy; areas requiring further research were identified.

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