What is the optimal number of traits to describe psychopathy?

Janko Mededovic, Boban Petrovic, Daliborka Kujacic, Jelena Zeleskov Doric, Maja Savic

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Hare ́s Psychopathy Check List – Revised (PCL-R) represents one of the most frequently used instruments for measuring psychopathy. However, there is a dispute regarding the optimal number of factors that configure its latent structure. Previous research in Serbia has shown that several tested models did not fit well with the empirical data. In this study, we have gathered and analyzed all of the available data on PCL-R collected in Serbia (406 male convicts, mean age 34 years, SD = 9.98). Exploratory factor analysis has shown that the variance of the scale items could be best explained with five latent components: Interpersonal, Affective, Impulsivity, Lifestyle and Antisocial. Several structural models were tested as well, with a special focus
    on two of them: the first where all of the traits are treated equally, and the second where Lifestyle and Antisocial traits were set as behavioral outcomes of the three personality traits. The second model surpassed not only the first one, but its fit indices showed a better fit than any of the other models proposed in literature. The results of the present research support models that describe psychopathy as a compound of three core traits: manipulative tendencies, affective superficiality and impulsiveness.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)109-130
    Number of pages21
    JournalApplied Psychology (Primenjena Psihologija)
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2015


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