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Subtypes of psychopathy in the British household population: findings from the national household survey of psychiatric morbidity

  • Jeremy Coid
  • Mark Freestone
  • Simone Ullrich
Original Paper

Abstract

Background

Cleckley asserted in 1941 that psychopathic personalities are found in the community as well as prisons. Subtypes of abnormal personality may be identifiable in the general population using contemporary measures of psychopathy.

Methods

Cluster analysis of PCL:SV scores using the four-facet model with a representative sample of 624 adults aged 16–74 years living in households interviewed in the second of a two-phase survey in Great Britain.

Results

Analysis confirmed an optimum 5-cluster solution and existence in the general population of prototypical or criminal psychopaths, non-psychopathic habitual criminals, and “successful psychopaths”. Two additional clusters were identified, one uniquely characterised by impulsive/irresponsible (Facet 3) items and the other by social failure associated with low scores on each facet.

Conclusions

The study confirmed previously hypothesised and two new subtypes of psychopathy within the general population. This prototypical classification may compliment existing typologies during clinical assessment following further refinement.

Keywords

Psychopathy Cluster analysis Household population Epidemiology Subtypes 

Notes

Acknowledgments

Jeremy Coid and Simone Ullrich were funded from a programme grant from the UK National Institute of Health Research (RP-PG-0407-10500); Mark Freestone is supported by the East London NHS Foundation Trust. The authors would like to thank the two anonymous reviewers for comments that helped to improve this manuscript.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Forensic Psychiatry Research Unit, Wolfson Institute for Preventive MedicineQueen Mary University of LondonLondonUK
  2. 2.North–East London Forensic Personality Disorder ServiceLondonUK

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