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Sex Abuse. 2017 Sep;29(6):592-614. doi: 10.1177/1079063215612443. Epub 2015 Oct 30.

Psychopathy Checklist-Revised Use and Reporting Practices in Sexually Violent Predator Evaluations.

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1 Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, TX, USA.
2 Institute of Law, Psychiatry, and Public Policy, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA, USA.


We surveyed evaluators who conduct sexually violent predator evaluations ( N = 95) regarding the frequency with which they use the Psychopathy Checklist-Revised (PCL-R), their rationale for use, and scoring practices. Findings suggest that evaluators use the PCL-R in sexually violent predator cases because of its perceived versatility, providing information about both mental disorder and risk. Several findings suggested gaps between research and routine practice. For example, relatively few evaluators reported providing the factor and facet scores that may be the strongest predictors of future offending, and many assessed the combination of PCL-R scores and sexual deviance using deviance measures (e.g., paraphilia diagnoses) that have not been examined in available studies. There was evidence of adversarial allegiance in PCL-R score interpretation, as well as a "bias blind spot" in PCL-R and other risk measure (Static-99R) scoring; evaluators tended to acknowledge the possibility of bias in other evaluators but not in themselves. Findings suggest the need for evaluators to carefully consider the extent to which their practices are consistent with emerging research and to be attuned to the possibility that working in adversarial settings may influence their scoring and interpretation practices.


Psychopathy Checklist–Revised (PCL-R) risk assessment; adversarial allegiance; bias blind spot; sexually violent predator

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