Criterion-related validity of the three-factor model of psychopathy: personality, behavior, and adaptive functioning

Assessment. 2004 Mar;11(1):4-16. doi: 10.1177/1073191103261466.


The Psychopathy Checklist-Revised (PCL-R) has been conceptualized as indexing two distinct but correlated factors. Previous research has established that these factors demonstrate distinct patterns of relations with external criteria. However, more recent findings suggest that the PCL-R psychopathy construct may encompass three distinguishable factors, reflecting affective, interpersonal, and behavioral symptoms. Here, we evaluated the validity of this newer three-factor model of the PCL-R factors with reference to external criteria from the domains of personality, antisocial behavior; and adaptive functioning in a sample of 310 incarcerated offenders. The interpersonal factor was related to social dominance, low stress reactivity, and higher adaptive functioning; the affective factor was correlated with low social closeness and violent offending; and the behavioral factor was associated with negative emotionality, disinhibition, reactive aggression, and poor adaptive functioning. These findings provide support for the convergent and discriminant validity of these psychopathy facets.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aggression / psychology
  • Antisocial Personality Disorder / diagnosis*
  • Antisocial Personality Disorder / pathology
  • Criminal Psychology
  • Factor Analysis, Statistical
  • Female
  • Florida
  • Humans
  • Interview, Psychological
  • Models, Psychological*
  • Prisoners / psychology*
  • Prisoners / statistics & numerical data
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Psychopathology / methods*
  • Violence / psychology