Assessment of Psychopathic Traits in Singaporean Adolescents: Validation of the Antisocial Process Screening Device (APSD)

  • Xiang Li
  • Wei Teng Chan
  • Rebecca P. Ang
  • Vivien S. Huan


There is little knowledge available concerning psychopathic traits in Asian adolescents; a lack of a suitable measurement instrument for assessing psychopathy in Asian societies may account for this. This study aimed to validate a widely used scale in the West — the Antisocial Process Screening Device (APSD) — in Singaporean school-based and at-risk adolescents. Using an exploratory factor analysis (EFA) and a confirmatory factor analysis (CFA), this study examined the two-factor (i.e., grandiose-manipulative/impulsive traits and callous-unemotional traits) and three-factor (i.e., grandiose-manipulative traits, impulsivity, and callous-unemotional traits) models of the APSD in 1027 school-based and 113 at-risk adolescents. School samples are adolescents from three secondary schools, while at-risk samples are adolescents who manifest different types of delinquent behaviors and are either placed in more structured settings or need closer supervision although they have not violated the law. Gender invariance was further tested in the school-based sample by conducting a multigroup CFA. The convergent validity of the APSD was also investigated in the school-based sample. For the school-based adolescents, the APSD revealed that the three-factor model provided a superior fit over the two-factor model and the factorial invariance across gender. Significant relationships between the three dimensions of the APSD and aggression and delinquency support the convergent validity of the APSD. As for the at-risk adolescents, both the two- and three-factor models were acceptable, but the two-factor model was preferred as it was parsimonious and it aligned with the conceptualized characteristics of psychopathic traits. Findings suggest that the APSD is a reliable and sound instrument for measuring psychopathic traits in Asian school-based and at-risk adolescents.


Psychopathic traits Adolescents Validation Factor analysis Gender invariance 



Data for this paper was obtained from two separate research projects funded from different sources. We acknowledge the funding support from both sources - the Ministry of Education (Singapore) AcRF Tier 2 grant (MOE2012-T2-1-079) and the Ministry of Social and Family Development (Singapore) Family Research Fund grant (2008-03), both awarded to Principal Investigator, Rebecca P. Ang.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Xiang Li Declares that she Has no Conflict of Interest. Wei Teng Chan Declares that she Has no Conflict of Interest. Rebecca P. Ang Declares that she Has no Conflict of Interest. Vivien S. Huan Declares that she Has no Conflict of Interest.

Experiment Participants

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.


This study was funded by the Ministry of Education (Singapore) AcRF Tier 2 grant (MOE2012-T2–1-079) and the Ministry of Social and Family Development (Singapore) Family Research Fund grant (2008–03).

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Psychological Studies Academic Group, National Institute of EducationNanyang Technological UniversitySingaporeSingapore

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