Psychopathy and psychopathological profiles in prisoners on remand

Acta Psychiatr Scand. 1999 Jan;99(1):33-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0447.1999.tb05382.x.


A total of 178 Danish male remand prisoners were examined using comprehensive interviews and questionnaires on psychopathological, personality and social measures, and file data. These data were compared with scores on the Hare Psychopathy Checklist - Revised (PCL-R). Subjects were divided into four groups according to quartile PCL-R scores. In general there were high rates of psychiatric morbidity in all PCL-R quartile groups. The medium-high scorers represent a more vulnerable group with a high prevalence of dependence disorders, relatively high neuroticism score and relatively high prevalence of neurotic and stress-related disorders. The high scorers were more psychosocially maladjusted, had more often made previous suicidal attempts, and had a higher psychoticism score. Chronic psychotic disorders did occur, mostly in the high-scoring group. The population had lower scores on the PCL-R than in most previous studies, suggesting a lower prevalence of psychopathic features among Danish criminals and possibly a lower cut-off point when using the PCL-R as a categorical measure. Both findings are consistent with the results of other European studies. Further studies on cross-cultural differences with regard to PCL-R psychopathic features and on psychic vulnerability related to PCL-R scores and factor 1/factor 2 of the PCL-R are suggested.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Antisocial Personality Disorder / complications
  • Antisocial Personality Disorder / diagnosis*
  • Antisocial Personality Disorder / psychology*
  • Denmark
  • Humans
  • Interview, Psychological
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prisoners / psychology*
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Substance-Related Disorders / complications
  • Substance-Related Disorders / diagnosis
  • Substance-Related Disorders / psychology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires*