An examination of the psychopathy checklist: youth version (PCL:YV) among male adolescent offenders: an item response theory analysis

Siny Tsang, Alex R. Piquero, Elizabeth Cauffman

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20 Citations (Scopus)


This study examined the applicability of the Psychopathy Checklist: Youth Version (PCL:YV; Forth, Kosson, & Hare, 2003) among a large sample of serious offending adolescent males. Adopting an item response theory approach, item properties of the PCL:YV were examined using the generalized partial credit model. Results showed that need for stimulation, "irresponsibility," and callous & unemotional were sensitive to changes in respondents' varying psychopathy levels, whereas lack of realistic, longterm goals; superficial charm; and revocation of conditional release were less so (quoted PCL:YV item published with permission by Multi-Health Systems, Inc.; see full permissions statement in footnote 1 in the article; other items are paraphrased). Substantial differential item functioning was also found in 15 of the 20 PCL:YV items among Caucasian, African American, and Hispanic offending boys, indicating that item functioning was not invariant across race/ethnicity. Questions remain regarding whether the construct of psychopathy as assessed with the PCL:YV is equivalent across adolescents in general and across different race/ethnic groups in particular.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1333-1346
Number of pages14
JournalPsychological Assessment
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Adolescent offenders
  • Item response theory
  • Psychopathy
  • Psychopathy checklist: Youth version

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