Commentary on Seagrave and Grisso: impressions of the state of the art

Law Hum Behav. 2002 Apr;26(2):241-5. doi: 10.1023/a:1014648227688.


Seagrave and Grisso (2001) questioned the clinical-forensic utility of tests designed to assess juvenile psychopathy. They discussed potential problems with such tests and some avenues for future research. We agree with the points made by Seagrave and Grisso, but believe their critique did not go far enough. The "state of the art" with respect to the assessment of juvenile psychopathy is like an Impressionist painting: fine from a distance; but the closer you get, the messier it looks. We conclude that although tests of "juvenile psychopathy" measure something, it is impossible to be sure at this time they are actually measuring psychopathy.

Publication types

  • Comment

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Age Factors
  • Antisocial Personality Disorder / diagnosis*
  • Antisocial Personality Disorder / psychology
  • Child
  • Forensic Psychiatry / methods*
  • Forensic Psychiatry / standards
  • Humans
  • Juvenile Delinquency / psychology*
  • Personality Assessment / standards*
  • Reproducibility of Results