Title

In Search of the Psychopathic Sexuality Taxon: Indicator Size Does Matter

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

1-1-2011

Department

Psychology

Abstract

Recent research has suggested that a qualitatively distinct subtype of psychopathic sex offender can be identified via taxometric analyses (Harris et al., 2007). In this study we attempted to replicate the hypothesized psychopathic sexuality taxon in a group of 503 male sexual offenders using data from the Psychopathy Checklist-Revised (PCL-R: Hare, 2003) and five coercive and precocious sexuality items. Ambiguous to dimensional results were obtained when, in a replication of the Harris et al. (2007) study, dichotomized indicators were analyzed with summed input maximum covariance (MAXCOV). Clearly dimensional results, however, were obtained when higher correlating and more valid quasi-continuous indicators were analyzed with traditional (input variables not summed) MAXCOV, and both dichotomous and quasi-continuous indicators were analyzed with mean above minus below a cut (MAMBAC) and latent-mode factor analysis (L-Mode). These results suggest that Harris et al. (2007) may have mistaken the random fluctuations of weakly correlating and poorly differentiating indicators for a taxon. Consistent with the vast majority of earlier research, our results suggest that psychopathy (with or without coercive and precocious sexuality) is a dimensional construct. Copyright (C) 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Publication Title

Behavioral Sciences & the Law

Volume

29

Issue

1

First Page

23

Last Page

39