Psychopathy: a clinical and forensic overview

Psychiatr Clin North Am. 2006 Sep;29(3):709-24. doi: 10.1016/j.psc.2006.04.007.


There is a substantial amount of empirical evidence that psychopathy, as measured by the PCL-R and its derivatives, is a predictor of recidivism and violence in prison, forensic psychiatric, and civil psychiatric populations. The PCL-R is one of the most generalizable of the risk factors identified thus far, and for this reason it is included in various actuarial and structured clinical risk assessment procedures. Although psychopathy is not the only risk factor for recidivism and violence, it is too important to ignore, particularly with respect to violence. Treatment and management are difficult, time-consuming, and expensive, but new initiatives based on current theory and research on psychopathy and the most effective correctional philosophies may help to reduce the harm done by psychopaths.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antisocial Personality Disorder / diagnosis*
  • Antisocial Personality Disorder / psychology
  • Crime / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Crime / psychology
  • Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
  • Forensic Psychiatry*
  • Humans
  • Personality Assessment
  • Personality Inventory
  • Prisoners / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Prisoners / psychology
  • Prognosis
  • Recurrence
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Offenses / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Sex Offenses / psychology
  • Violence / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Violence / psychology