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Eur Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2009 Feb;18(2):85-95. doi: 10.1007/s00787-008-0707-7. Epub 2008 Sep 19.

Examining relations between psychopathology and psychopathy dimensions among adolescent female and male offenders.

Author information

  • 1Clinic for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, University of Cologne, Germany. kathrin.sevecke@uk-koeln.de



This study was performed to investigate relations between psychopathology and psychopathy in adolescent female and male detainees.


We examined 91 male and 123 female adolescent detainees (aged 14-19) for psychopathology -using the Youth Self Report, the Overt Aggression Scale-Modified and a Conduct Disorder Self Report Scale- and for psychopathic dimensions using the psychopathy checklist youth version (PCL:YV). Based on a linear regression analysis we compared the specific associations between psychopathology and psychopathy in both male and female delinquent juveniles.


Our results revealed higher scores for externalizing behavior and psychopathic dimensions in delinquent males, and higher internalizing problem scores in delinquent females. Furthermore, we found a positive relationship between suicidal behavior and the psychopathy total score as well as the affective, the lifestyle and the antisocial dimension only in girls. No association was found for suicidal behavior in boys. Regarding anxious-depressive behavior, we found a negative relation to the psychopathy total score and to the affective psychopathy factor for the boys.


Expectedly, the population of incarcerated adolescents exhibited a high prevalence of psychopathology. At the same time our results referred to meaningful gender-related differences with respect to associations with psychopathy. The gender-related differences in psychopathological symptoms could indicate varied subtypes of psychopathy in boys and girls.

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