The usefulness of self-reported psychopathy-like traits in the study of antisocial behaviour among non-referred adolescents



The present study addresses the question of whether it is possible to use a self-report measure of psychopathic traits on non-referred youth samples to identify a subgroup of problematic youths who are particularly problematic and different from other problem youths. A large sample of eighth-grade, non-referred adolescents, and their parents were assessed. Results showed that the adolescents exhibiting a low-socialized psychopathy-like personality constellation had a more frequent, violent, and versatile conduct-problem profile than other low-socialized and well socialized adolescents. The psychopathy-like adolescents also differed from other poorly socialized adolescents in ways that suggested that their etiological background was different from adolescents with non-psychopathy-like conduct problems. We conclude that self-report measures can indeed be useful for research purposes in subtyping youths with conduct problems. Copyright © 2002 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.