The Relation Between Self-Reported Psychopathic Traits and Distorted Response Styles: A Meta-Analytic Review

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A concern among researchers is that self-report measures may not be valid indicators of psychopathic traits due to the core features of psychopathy (e.g., lying, deception/manipulation). The current study addresses this issue by combining effects sizes from studies published on or before March 31, 2010 to examine the relation between scores of 3 widely used self-report psychopathy measures-the Psychopathic Personality Inventory (PPI; Lilienfeld & Andrews, 1996) and its revised version (PPI-R; Lilienfeld & Widows, 2005) and Levenson's Self-Report Psychopathy scale (LSRP; Levenson, Kiehl, & Fitzpatrick, 1995) and scores on measures assessing response style (i.e., faking good and faking bad). Effect sizes were obtained from 45 studies for total, Factor 1, and Factor 2 scores (faking good: k = 54, 55, and 55, respectively; faking bad: k = 51, 50, and 50, respectively). Based on a random effects model, a significant negative association was found between social desirability/faking good and both total (r(w) = -.11, p < .01) and F2 (r(w), = -.16, p < .01) scores, and moderation analyses suggested that effect sizes varied as a function of psychopathy scale and validity scale used. Significant positive associations were also found between faking bad and both total (r(w) = .27, p < .05) and F2 (r(w) = .32, p < .05) scores. Also, moderation analyses suggested that effect sizes varied as a function of study location, psychopathy scale, and validity scale. Despite several limitations (e.g., inclusion of only published studies, limited moderators, exclusion of other measures), the general findings temper concerns of positive response bias and underscore the validity of self-report psychopathy scales.

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Personality Disorders: Theory, Research, and Treatment





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