Psychopathy is an important forensic mental health construct. Despite this importance, the research base of psychopathy among individuals convicted of capital murder is limited. Archival data were collected from a sample of 636 persons convicted of capital murder and sentenced to death in the State of California. Psychopathy was assessed using the Psychopathy Checklist – Revised (PCL-R) instrument. Data on criminal careers and other behavioral disorders were also extracted. The sample mean PCL-R total score was 23.31 (SD = 9.92) and one-third of individuals in this sample were considered clinically psychopathic with PCL-R total scores of 30 or greater. Factor analytic examination yielded support for four facets: affective, interpersonal, lifestyle, and antisocial. Criterion validity findings revealed positive correlations of psychopathy scores with Antisocial Personality Disorder (ρ = 0.72), Conduct Disorder (ρ = 0.46), sexual sadism (ρ = 0.24), Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ρ = 0.20), ADHD (ρ = 0.15), arrest charges (r = 0.56), prison sentences (r = 0.53), and age of arrest onset (r = −0.57). Individuals convicted of capital murder and sentenced to death reflect heterogeneity in psychopathy with some individuals exhibiting pronounced psychopathic features.
|Number of pages||10|
|Journal||Journal of Forensic Sciences|
|Publication status||Published - 2023 Mar|
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2022 American Academy of Forensic Sciences.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine