Prevalence and correlates of psychopathic traits in the household population of Great Britain

Coid, Jeremy and Yang, Min and Ullrich, Simone and Roberts, Amanda and Hare, Robert D. (2009) Prevalence and correlates of psychopathic traits in the household population of Great Britain. International Journal of Law and Psychiatry, 32 (2). pp. 65-73. ISSN 0160-2527

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Prevalence and correlates of psychopathic traits

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Abstract

There are no previous surveys of psychopathy and psychopathic traits in representative general population samples using standardized instruments. This study aimed to measure prevalence and correlates of psychopathic
traits, based on a two-phase survey using the Psychopathy Checklist: Screening Version (PCL: SV) in 638 individuals, 16–74 years, in households in England, Wales and Scotland. The weighted prevalence of psychopathy was 0.6% (95% CI: 0.2–1.6) at a cut score of 13, similar to the noncriminal/nonpsychiatric sample described in the manual of the PCL: SV. Psychopathy scores correlated with: younger age, male gender; suicide attempts, violent behavior, imprisonment and homelessness; drug dependence; histrionic, borderline and adult antisocial personality disorders; panic and obsessive–compulsive disorders. This survey demonstrated that, as measured by the PCL: SV, psychopathy is rare, affecting less than 1% of the household population, although it is prevalent among prisoners, homeless persons, and psychiatric admissions. There is a half-normal distribution of psychopathic traits in the general population, with the majority having no traits, a significant proportion with non-zero values, and a severe subgroup of persons with multiple associated social and behavioral problems. This distribution has implications for research into the etiology of psychopathy and its implications for society.

Keywords:Psychopathy, Epidemiology, Co-morbidity, Social functioning
Subjects:C Biological Sciences > C800 Psychology
C Biological Sciences > C890 Psychology not elsewhere classified
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Psychology
ID Code:14827
Deposited On:24 Oct 2014 08:53

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