Relations between Psychopathy Facets and Externalizing in a Criminal Offender Sample
The construct of psychopathy is viewed as comprising distinctive but correlated affective-interpersonal and social deviance facets. Here, we examined these facets of Hare's Psychopathy Checklist-Revised (PCL-R) in terms of their associations with the externalizing dimension of adult psychopathology, defined as the common factor underlying symptoms of conduct disorder, adult antisocial behavior, alcohol use/abuse, and drug abuse, along with disinhibitory personality traits. Correlational analyses revealed a strong relationship between this externalizing dimension and the social deviance facet of psychopathy (r = .84), and a lesser relationship with the emotional-interpersonal component (r = .44). Structural models controlling for the moderate overlap between the PCL-R factors revealed that externalizing was substantially related to the unique variance in the social deviance features of psychopathy, but unrelated to the unique variance of the emotional and interpersonal features whether modeled together or as separate factors. These results indicate that the social deviance factor of the PCL-R reflects the externalizing dimension of psychopathology, whereas the emotional-interpersonal component taps something distinct aside from externalizing. In addition, based on our finding of an association between PCL-R social deviance and externalizing, we were able to predict new relations between this facet of psychopathy and criterion variables, including nicotine use and gambling, that have previously been linked to externalizing. Implications for future research on the causes and correlates of psychopathy are discussed.