An Examination of Triarchic Psychopathy Constructs in Female Offenders

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This study sought to expand scientific knowledge on psychopathic personality traits in female offenders by evaluating the relationship between MMPI–2–RF triarchic scales and self-reported external variables in a sample of 205 female offenders. Results indicated that boldness was inversely related to internalizing dysfunction, including suicidal behavior, psychosis, youth conduct problems, problems stemming from alcohol use, and a history of outpatient mental health treatment. Meanness was positively related to internalizing dysfunction as well as youth conduct problems, anger, prison disciplinary reports, and psychosis. Disinhibition was associated with a history of abuse in childhood, suicidal behavior, internalizing dysfunction, problems associated with alcohol and drug use, family history of mental illness, prison disciplinary reports for violence, number of previous criminal charges, and anger. Consistent with views of psychopathy as a configural condition, interactive effects of boldness with disinhibition and meanness were observed for multiple key external variables (e.g., conduct problems, substance use, nonsuicidal self-injurious behavior). This study provides further evidence for the triarchic conceptualization of psychopathy in female offenders and lends additional support for the validity of MMPI–2–RF triarchic psychopathy scales.

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Journal of Personality Assessment