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Investigating Different Factor Structures of the Psychopathy Checklist: Youth Version: Confirmatory Factor Analytic Findings

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Publication Date: March 2006

Publisher(s): MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Adolescent Development and Juvenile Justice (ADJJ)

Author(s): Edward Mulvey; Joshua D. Miller; Elizabeth Cauffman; Shayne Jones

Funder(s): John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

Funder(s): John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

Special Collection: John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

Topic: Health (Mental health)
Social conditions (Social conditions and problems)

Keywords: Serious adolescent offenders; Juvenile offenders; Psychopathy Checklist: Youth Version; Factor structure

Type: Report

Coverage: United States


There has been a recent push to extend the construct of psychopathy into adolescence, primarily as a result of the impressive reliability, validity, and utility of this construct in samples of adults. The value of this work rests, however, on creating an equally reliable and valid assessment tool for adolescents. One promising measure is the Psychopathy Checklist: Youth Version (A. E. Forth, D. S. Kosson, & R. D. Hare, 2003). The current study uses a large, diverse sample of serious adolescent offenders to assess the overall fit of various underlying factor structures of this measure and to test the equivalence of these models across sex and race/ethnicity. The results suggest that either a 3- or 4-factor model provides the best overall fit and that these models are invariant across sex and race/ethnicity. The decision to use the 3- or 4-factor model will likely hinge on researchers' underlying conceptualization of psychopathy, specifically whether antisocial behavior is viewed as a core feature of this construct.