A latent profile analysis of the Psychopathic Personality Inventory in a representative sample of referred boys

Carlo Garofalo*, Jelle Sijtsema, Elien De Caluwé, Michael Vaughn, Matt DeLisi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
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A long tradition of theoretical and empirical work has described different variants (or subtypes) of psychopathy, in an attempt to delineate similarities and differences among constellations of psychopathic traits. Research in this area has the potential to increase our understanding of the etiology of different psychopathy variants, their associated risk, and protective factors, as well as to inform the development of tailored interventions. Drawing on data from a large, representative sample of referred boys incarcerated in the United States (N = 629; M age = 15.49 years, SD = 1.23), the current study adopted a person-centered approach to identify variants of incarcerated youth based on scores on the 8 Psychopathic Personality Inventory-Short Form (PPI-SF) subscales. Latent profile analysis results identified 5 variants of youth: a high-psychopathy variant, a variant with moderate psychopathy scores, and 3 variants with distinct elevations on some PPI-SF subscales. Over one third of the participants had substantially high levels of psychopathic traits, and high levels of psychopathy were associated with a severe history of delinquency. Latent profile analysis findings also supported traditional and contemporary perspectives on psychopathy variants according to which different constellations of psychopathic traits are associated with different degrees of delinquent behavior, internalizing symptoms, substance use, and victimization. Finally, it appears that, individually, none of the trait domains assessed by the PPI-SF can explain differences across variants, and that it is the co-occurrence of all of the features that characterizes the most severe form of psychopathy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)365-375
JournalPersonality Disorders. Theory Research and Treatment
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • juvenile offenders
  • primary psychopathy
  • psychopathic traits
  • secondary psychopathy
  • subtypes


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