Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology

, Volume 40, Issue 6, pp 971–986 | Cite as

Assessment of Psychopathic Traits in an Incarcerated Adolescent Sample: A Methodological Comparison

  • Brandi C. Fink
  • Adam S. Tant
  • Katherine Tremba
  • Kent A. Kiehl


Analyses of convergent validity and group assignment using self-report, caregiver-report and interview-based measures of adolescent psychopathy were conducted in a sample of 160 incarcerated adolescents. Results reveal significant convergent validity between caregiver-report measures of adolescent psychopathy, significant convergent validity between self-report measures of adolescent psychopathy and an interviewer rating scale, but not between the caregiver-report measures and their corresponding self-report measures nor between the caregiver-report measures and the interviewer rating scale. Analyses of group assignment were also poorer than expected among all the measures with none evidencing significant agreement with the expert-rated device (Hare Psychopathy Checklist-Youth Version; PCL-YV), the most common forensic instrument used in clinical practice. Part of the poor agreement may be related to the poor psychometric performance of the callous-unemotional subscale of most of these measures and the low response rates from caregivers (N = 35). These findings suggest that the measures do not provide an interchangeable assessment of callous-unemotional traits and suggest that further refinement of the measurement of callous-unemotional traits in youth may be warranted.


PCL-YV Callous-unemotional traits Youth psychopathy assessment 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Brandi C. Fink
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Adam S. Tant
    • 1
  • Katherine Tremba
    • 1
  • Kent A. Kiehl
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.The Mind Research NetworkAlbuquerqueUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of New MexicoAlbuquerqueUSA
  3. 3.Center on Alcoholism, Substance Abuse and AddictionsThe University of New MexicoAlbuquerqueUSA

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