Assessing psychopathic attributes in a noninstitutionalized population

J Pers Soc Psychol. 1995 Jan;68(1):151-8. doi: 10.1037//0022-3514.68.1.151.


The present study examined antisocial dispositions in 487 university students. Primary and secondary psychopathy scales were developed to assess a protopsychopathic interpersonal philosophy. An antisocial action scale also was developed for purposes of validation. The primary, secondary, and antisocial action scales were correlated with each other and with boredom susceptibility and disinhibition but not with experience seeking and thrill and adventure seeking. Secondary psychopathy was associated with trait anxiety. Multiple regression analysis revealed that the strongest predictors of antisocial action were disinhibition, primary psychopathy, secondary psychopathy, and sex, whereas thrill and adventure seeking was a negative predictor. This argues against a singular behavioral inhibition system mediating both antisocial and risk-taking behavior. These findings are also consistent with the view that psychopathy is a continuous dimension.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Antisocial Personality Disorder / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Sex Factors