Investigating the Components of Psychopathic Traits in Youth Offenders

  • Kristin A. Ridder
  • David S. Kosson


Despite widespread acceptance of the importance of psychopathic traits in youth, the relative importance of different components of psychopathy remains controversial. This study was conducted to examine whether the interpersonal and lifestyle facets of psychopathy as measured with a valid clinical measure of psychopathic traits contribute to predicting relevant external criteria on top of the contributions of the affective facet. To address this issue, we conducted multiple regressions predicting antisocial behavior, exposure to violence, and psychopathology in a sample of 225 incarcerated adolescents. Results indicated that ratings on the affective component of psychopathy were important in helping to explain variance in many of the external criterion variables but that ratings on the interpersonal and lifestyle facets also helped to explain unique variance in a range of criteria including violent and non-violent crime, exposure to violence, impulsivity, and anger expression. These studies suggest that multiple components of psychopathy are likely to be important both in predicting real world outcomes and in understanding mechanisms involved in the development and manifestation of these traits.


Psychopathy Subtypes Youth Callous-unemotional 



The research and preparation of this article were supported in part by a Pilot Grant from Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science to David S. Kosson and Cami K. McBride. We wish to thank Susan G. Korpai, Rosemarie Gray, Louise Loud, Leonard Young, Michael Fletcher, Robert Cesar, the correctional officers, and the adolescents at the Depke Juvenile Justice Complex in Illinois for their consistent support and cooperation of the research reported here. We thank Rachel Tercek, Lindsay Allen Whitman, Josh Greco, Cody Schraft, Sarah Hampton, Melanie Chinchilla, and Hillary Gorin for interviewing the participants.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Kristin A. Ridder declares that she has no conflict of interest. David S. Kosson declares that he has no conflict of interest although he receives some royalties from the sale of the Psychopathy Checklist: Youth Version Technical Manual.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in this study were in accordance with the ethical standards of the Institutional Review Board of Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Experiment Participants

Informed consent was obtained from the parents or guardians of all individual participants included in the study, and informed assent was obtained from the adolescent participants themselves.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and ScienceNorth ChicagoUSA

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