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Nervenarzt. 2003 Nov;74(11):1002-8.

[Categorical and dimensional assessment of "psychopathy" in German offenders. Prevalence, gender differences and age factors].

[Article in German]

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Universitätsklinik und Poliklinik für Psychiatrie und Psychotherapie, Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg, Julius-Kühn-Strasse 7, 06112, Halle (Saale).


The personality construct "psychopathy" is of utmost importance in legal prognosis. In the last 20 years, a multitude of empirical research proved the predictive validity of this concept concerning the degree of dangerousness represented by an offender. In the present study, a representative, nonselected sample of 416 offenders was examined using the Screening Version of the Psychopathy Checklist (PCL:SV). The data were analysed both categorically and dimensionally according to the three-factor model proposed by Cooke and Michie. In comparison to North American Studies the prevalence of high scorers was significantly lower, implicating intercultural differences. Analyses of the effects of gender yielded higher scores on each of the three factors in male offenders. Concerning different age cohorts, it turned out that the arrogant and deceitful interpersonal style and deficient affective experience remained stable, whereas the impulsive and irresponsible behavioral style decreased with increasing age. Therefore, our results point out intercultural differences already shown in the prevalence of "psychopathy" and confirm the effects of gender and age concerning this construct.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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