Prevalence and correlates of psychopathic traits in the household population of Great Britain

Article


Coid, Jeremy W., Yang, Min, Ullrich, Simone, Roberts, A. and Hare, Robert 2009. Prevalence and correlates of psychopathic traits in the household population of Great Britain. International Journal of Law and Psychiatry. 32 (2), pp. 65-73.
AuthorsCoid, Jeremy W., Yang, Min, Ullrich, Simone, Roberts, A. and Hare, Robert
Abstract

There are no previous surveys of psychopathy and psychopathic traits in representative general population samples using standardized instruments. This study aimed to measure prevalence and correlates of psychopathic traits, based on a two-phase survey using the Psychopathy Checklist: Screening Version (PCL: SV) in 638 individuals, 16-74 years, in households in England, Wales and Scotland. The weighted prevalence of psychopathy was 0.6% (95% CI: 0.2-1.6) at a cut score of 13, similar to the noncriminal/nonpsychiatric sample described in the manual of the PCL: SV. Psychopathy scores correlated with: younger age, male gender; suicide attempts, violent behaviour, imprisonment and homelessness; drug dependence; histrionic, borderline and adult antisocial personality disorders; panic and obsessive-compulsive disorders. This survey demonstrated that, as measured by the PCL: SV, psychopathy is rare, affecting less than 1% of the household population, although it is prevalent among prisoners, homeless persons, and psychiatric admissions. There is a half-normal distribution of psychopathic traits in the general population, with the majority having no traits, a significant proportion with non-zero values, and a severe subgroup of persons with multiple associated social and behavioral problems. This distribution has implications for research into the etiology of psychopathy and its implications for society.

KeywordsPsychopathy; Epidemiology; Co-morbidity; Social functioning
JournalInternational Journal of Law and Psychiatry
Journal citation32 (2), pp. 65-73
ISSN0160-2527
Year2009
Accepted author manuscript
License
CC BY-ND
Web address (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijlp.2009.01.002
http://hdl.handle.net/10552/660
Publication dates
PrintMar 2009
Publication process dates
Deposited11 Mar 2010
Additional information

Citation:
Coid, J. W. et al. (2009) ‘Prevalence and correlates of psychopathic traits in the household population of Great Britain.’ International Journal of Law and Psychiatry, 32 (2) 65–73.

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