Multidimensional scaling analysis of psychopathy in male juveniles using the PCL: YV

Publication Date06 Nov 2017
AuthorHolly Ellingwood,Karla Emeno,Craig Bennell,Adelle Forth,David Kosson,Robert D. Hare
SubjectHealth & social care,Criminology & forensic psychology,Criminal psychology,Sociology,Sociology of crime & law,Deviant behaviour,Public policy & environmental management,Policing,Criminal justice
Multidimensional scaling analysis of
psychopathy in male juveniles using
the PCL: YV
Holly Ellingwood, Karla Emeno, Craig Bennell, Adelle Forth, David Kosson and
Robert D. Hare
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to examine the structureof juvenile psychopathy, as measured by the
Psychopathy Checklist: Youth Version (PCL: YV).
Design/methodology/approach Using a sample of 2,042 male youths from the USA, Canada, and the
UK, the study was a conceptual replication of Bishopp and Hares (2008) multidimensional scaling (MDS)
analysis of adult male offenders assessed with the Psychopathy Checklist-Revised.
Findings The scaling analyses generally replicated those obtainedby Bishopp and Hare, providing support
for a multidimensional, four-factormodel of juvenile psychopathysimilar to that obtained with adults. However,
a small number of items fell outside their predicted regions. Slight differences in the structure of juvenile
psychopathywere found for incarceratedand supervised samplesof youth, with the four-factormodel breaking
down slightlyfor the supervisedsample. Item misplacementsmay indicate that certainitems on the PCL: YV are
being misinterpreted, reflectdifferent dimensions for differentsamples, or cannot be reliablymeasured. Future
research should examine these possibilities, with special attention being paid to supervised samples.
Originality/value To the authorsknowledge, this is one of the first known attempts to use MDS analysis to
examine the psychopathy structures that emerge for male juvenile offenders. The greater nuances afforded
by using MDS offer a more comprehensive understanding of psychopathy between incarcerated and
supervised youth using the PCL: YV.
Keywords Juvenile offenders, PCL: YV, Psychopathy, Multidimensional scaling, Juvenile psychopathy,
Male young offenders
Paper type Research paper
Most clinicians an d researchers describe psycho pathy in terms of a combination of p ersonality
traits and behaviours (e.g. Cleckley, 1976; Hare et al., 2012; Lykken, 1995). These traits and
behaviours are commonly assessed in adult clinical and forensic populations with the Hare
Psychopathy Chec klist-Revised (PCL-R; Hare, 1991, 2003; Hare et al., 2013). The PCL-R
consists of 20 items, each scored according to explicit criteria on a three-point (0, 1, and 2)
scale, using inter view and file inform ation. A youth vers ion of the PCL-R was d eveloped by
revising the 20 adult items to make them more age appropriate for a youth population
(see Items from the PCL: YV). This version of the checklist is known a s the Hare Psychopathy
Checklist: Youth Version (PCL: YV; Forth et al.,2003).Aswediscussbelow,thePCL:YVhas
been validated for the assessment of psychopathic traits in youth between the ages of 12
and 18 (e.g. Book et al., 2013; Forth et al., 2016; Kosson et al., 2002).
Items from the PCL: YV:
1. Impression management
2. Grandiose sense of self-worth
Received 27 March 2017
Revised 19 May 2017
Accepted 21 May 2017
Robert D. Hare receives royalties
from the sale of the PCL-R,
the PCL: YV, and the PCL:
SV. Adelle Forth andDavid Kosson
receives royaltiesfrom the sale
of the PCL: YV.
Holly Ellingwood is a PhD
Candidate at the Department of
Psychology, Carleton
University, Ottawa, Canada.
Karla Emeno is an Assistant
Professor at the Faculty of
Social Science and Humanities,
University of Ontario Institute of
Technology, Oshawa, Canada.
Craig Bennell is a Professor and
Adelle Forth is an Associate
Professor, both at the
Department of Psychology,
Carleton University,
Ottawa, Canada.
David Kosson is a Professor at
the College of Health
Professions, Rosalind Franklin
University of Medicine and
Science, North Chicago, Illinois,
Robert D. Hare is a Professor
Emeritus at theDepartment of
Psychology,University of British
Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.
VOL. 7 NO. 4 2017, pp. 262-279, © Emerald Publishing Limited, ISSN 2009-3829 DOI 10.1108/JCP-03-2017-0019
3. Stimulation seeking
4. Pathological lying
5. Manipulation for personal gain
6. Lack of remorse
7. Shallow affect
8. Callous/lack of empathy
9. Parasitic orientation
10. Poor anger control
11. Impersonal sexual behaviour
12. Early behaviour problems
13. Lacks goals
14. Impulsivity
15. Irresponsibility
16. Failure to accept responsibility
17. Unstable interpersonal relationships
18. Serious criminal behaviour
19. Serious violations of conditional release
20. Criminal versatility
Although the primary goal of the PCL-R is to assess the psychopathy construct in adults
(Hare et al., 2013), the large number of studies reporting moderate positive relationships between
PCL-R scores and outcome measures such as criminal recidivism and institutional violence
has led to its use in risk assessment (e.g. Campbell et al., 2009; Hurducas et al., 2014;
Leistico et al., 2008; Olver et al., 2013; Olver and Wong, 2015; Yang et al., 2010). Others have
reported that offenders with high PCL-R scores present difficult challenges for treatment
programs (e.g. Olver and Wong, 2011, 2013; Swogger et al., 2016; Tew and Atkinson, 2013).
Given the value of the PCL-R as an assessment instrument, researchers have examined whether
the same is true of the PCL: YV. Specifically, does the PCL: YV provide reliable and valid
assessments of psychopathy in youth populations? And does it predict outcomes such as
recidivism, violent behaviour, and poor treatment results?
With respect to its ability to assess psychopathy, the PCL: YV has shown levels of reliability and
validity in adolescent male populations comparable to those shown by the PCL-R in adult
populations(Andershed et al., 2007; Book et al.,2013; Forth and Book, 2007; Kosson et al.,2002;
Neumann et al.,2006; Pechorro et al., 2015; Salekinet al., 2006; Sevecke et al., 2009; Villar-Torres
et al., 2014; Vincent et al., 2008). The pattern of findings suggests that it is possible to use the
PCL: YV to identify psychopathic traits in adolescence (Salekin and Lynam, 2010).
Similar to the PCL-R, evidence also supports the use of the PCL: YV as a risk assessment tool.
Indeed, studies have revealed positive correlations between PCL: YV scores in youth and various
outcome measures (e.g. recidivism, academic and behavioural problems in school, etc.;
Andershed et al., 2008; Book et al., 2013; Campbell et al., 2004; Forth and Book, 2010;
Salekin et al., 1997; Vincent et al., 2008) as well as substantial within-individual stability
(Hemphälä et al., 2015). However, there is conflicting evidence regarding the applicability of the
PCL: YV to female adolescents. Some research has found different patterns of construct validity
in young females compared to young males (e.g. Das et al., 2008; Sevecke et al., 2009), whereas
other research has found evidence for a pattern of correlations with a variety of external indices,
which suggests that the construct of psychopathy is relatively similar in female and male youth
(Bauer et al., 2011; Forth and Book, 2007).
VOL. 7 NO. 4 2017

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