An examination of the triarchic conceptualization of psychopathy in incarcerated and nonincarcerated samples

J Abnorm Psychol. 2013 Feb;122(1):208-214. doi: 10.1037/a0029306. Epub 2012 Aug 6.


The current study tested hypotheses associated with the triarchic conceptualization of psychopathy (Patrick, 2010b; Patrick, Fowles, & Krueger, 2009), which describes three distinctive, albeit related, phenotypic domains-boldness, meanness, and disinhibition. We used two samples consisting of 209 female prison inmates and 627 undergraduate students whom had been administered a range of psychopathy and psychopathy-relevant measures. Our results indicated that the triarchic domains explained variance in other psychopathy models to degrees consistent with conceptual expectations. We also examined associations between the triarchic domains and personality traits relevant to psychopathy in the female correctional sample. The results showed that boldness was preferentially associated with narcissism, thrill/adventure seeking, and low behavioral inhibition system functioning; meanness with machiavellianism, low empathy, and low behavioral inhibition system; and disinhibition with impulsivity and fun seeking.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Affective Symptoms / psychology*
  • Antisocial Personality Disorder / psychology*
  • Criminals / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Impulsive Behavior / psychology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Personality Inventory
  • Prisoners / psychology*
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Students / psychology*
  • Young Adult