Predicting institutional adjustment and recidivism with the psychopathy checklist factor scores: a meta-analysis

Law Hum Behav. 2003 Oct;27(5):541-58. doi: 10.1023/a:1025490207678.


This study explored the validity of the PCL/PCL-R factor scores in predicting institutional adjustment and recidivism in forensic clients and prison inmates. Forty-two studies in which institutional adjustment, release outcome (recidivism), or both were assessed prospectively with the PCL/PCL-R yielded 50 effect size estimates between the PCL/PCL-R factor scores and measures of institutional adjustment/recidivism. A meta-analysis of these findings disclosed that Factor 2 (Antisocial/Unstable Lifestyle) correlated moderately well with institutional adjustment and recidivism, whereas Factor 1 (Affective/Interpersonal Traits) was less robustly associated with these outcomes. Direct comparisons of the mean effect sizes attained by Factors 1 and 2 revealed that Factor 2 was significantly more predictive of total outcomes, general recidivism, violent recidivism, and outcomes from the 12 most methodological sound studies than Factor 1. There was less differentiation between Factors 1 and 2 on measures of institutional adjustment.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Antisocial Personality Disorder / classification*
  • Antisocial Personality Disorder / psychology
  • Criminal Psychology / instrumentation*
  • Forecasting
  • Forensic Psychiatry / instrumentation*
  • Humans
  • Institutionalization
  • Prisoners / psychology*
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Psychopathology / instrumentation*
  • Recurrence
  • Violence / psychology*