A cluster analytic examination and external validation of psychopathic offender subtypes in a multisite sample of Canadian federal offenders
Wong, Stephen C. P.
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The present study is a cluster analytic examination and validation of psychopathic offender subtypes from 4 combined samples of Canadian federally incarcerated offenders, most of whom were serving sentences for violent offenses. The men were rated on the Hare Psychopathy Checklist-Revised (PCL-R; Hare, 1991, 2003) on the basis of comprehensive file information and 314 cases were extracted using a PCL-R total cut score of 25. Cluster analysis of the 4 PCL-R facets converged at a 2-cluster solution: a primary subtype characterized by prominent interpersonal and affective features of psychopathy and a secondary subtype characterized by comparatively few interpersonal features and high scores on the remaining facets. Validation analyses found that the vast majority of primary psychopathic offenders (74.1%) were White or of non-Aboriginal descent in contrast to the secondary subtype (47.6%). Secondary psychopathic offenders tended to be actuarially higher risk, have greater criminogenic needs, and to make greater amounts of treatment change on criminogenic targets; however, contrary to expectations, within-treatment changes from a violence reduction program were significantly associated with reductions in violent recidivism for primary, but not secondary, variants. There were few differences in rates of recidivism between the groups overall; secondary variants had higher rates of sexual violence which was largely accounted for by individual differences in baseline static risk. Implications for risk assessment, treatment planning, and the classification and etiology of primary and secondary psychopathy are discussed.Copyright (c) 2015 APA, all rights reserved).