The utility of the Psychopathy Checklist‐Revised (PCL‐R) facet and item scores in predicting violent recidivism [2020]

There is relatively limited research on psychopathy in non‐Caucasian ethnic groups and even less on the utility of the Psychopathy Checklist‐Revised (PCL‐R) that focuses on PCL‐R facet and item scores in predicting violent recidivism. In this study, we assessed the utility of the PCL‐R in prospectively predicting violent versus nonviolent recidivism during an 11‐year follow‐up window. A high‐risk sample of 451 incarcerated Korean male offenders was assessed on the PCL‐R at baseline. A total of 445 were reconvicted after release (353 violent and 92 nonviolent recidivists). Psychopathy facet scores were higher in violent compared to nonviolent recidivists. Facet 2 (affective) showed the strongest effect size (Cohen’s d  = 0.53; Percentage change in odds = 22.6%) in predicting violent recidivism. Analyses of the four items constituting the affective facet indicated that callous/lack of empathy (Percentage change in odds = 134.4%) and failure to accept responsibility (Percentage change in odds = 94.5%) were the strongest predictors of violent recidivism. Findings are to our knowledge the first to document the utility of the PCL‐R in distinguishing violent from nonviolent recidivism and highlight the role of affective impairment (particularly lack of empathy) in violent recidivism.

Ji Seun Sohn, Adrian Raine, Soo Jung Lee
Aggressive Behavior, 11 August 2020
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