A Latent Class Analysis of Psychopathy Subtypes in a Sex Offender Population



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Past research has provided evidence for primary and secondary subtypes of psychopathy. Research in this area has focused on broad male offender samples, though some studies have investigated more specific populations such as college students, juvenile offenders, and African American male offenders. No studies have investigated primary and secondary psychopathy in sex offender populations. Psychopathy is an integral construct in sexually violent predator evaluations. Some studies have investigated subtypes of sex offenders and interesting parallels are apparent between these findings and primary and secondary subtypes of psychopathy. Yet, no prior studies have attempted to merge these seemingly parallel lines of research. This study addresses this gap by examining whether there is support for primary and secondary psychopathy among a sample of sex offenders. Specifically, this study used a latent class analysis (LCA) approach to analyze scores on the Psychopathy Checklist-Revised (PCL-R) and Personality Assessment Inventory (PAI) profiles from 487 offenders evaluated for post-release civil commitment. The results of this study describe latent subtypes of psychopathy within this sample, as well as additional latent subtypes with low levels of psychopathy, allowing for comparison with previous sex offender subtype studies.



Psychopathy, Sexual offender, Latent class analysis, Primary psychopathy, Secondary psychopathy