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Clin Psychol Rev. 2010 Jun;30(4):423-35. doi: 10.1016/j.cpr.2010.02.003. Epub 2010 Feb 24.

A meta-analytic assessment of Wechsler's P>V sign in antisocial populations.

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Department of Psychology (SGM 501), University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90089-1061, USA.


The dichotomy between Verbal IQ and Performance IQ was a hallmark of the Wechsler scales for over 60 years. Wechsler noted that adolescent delinquents tend to score higher on the Performance tests than the Verbal tests (P>V). A plethora of studies have examined the clinical utility of the P>V sign in juvenile delinquents. However, there have been few attempts to systematically quantify the size of this discrepancy in antisocial children and adults. A meta-analysis of 131 studies was conducted to examine whether the PIQ-VIQ discrepancy is found across different age groups as well as sex, race, and test instrument. Results indicated that the discrepancy is characteristic of antisocial females as well as males. The discrepancy is largest in adolescents (6 points), smaller in adults (3 points), and negligible in young children. Furthermore, the effect is moderated by race and instrument, such that the PIQ-VIQ discrepancy is smallest for African-Americans and for subjects administered the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale. Among adolescents administered the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children, the poorest subtests are Vocabulary and Information. It is argued that delinquency is intertwined with school failure, and that verbal-educational deficits accumulate over the course of childhood, eventually manifesting as P>V.

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