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Using the Psychopathy Checklist-Revised With Female Samples: Reliability, Validity, and Implications for Clinical Utility


Address correspondence to Jennifer E. Vitale, Department of Psychology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1202 W. Johnson Street, Madison, WI 53706.


Since the introduction of the Psychopathy Checklist-Revised in 1991 (PCL-R), numerous studies have examined the reliability and validity of this assessment instrument in samples of institutionalized and noninstitu-tionalized females. We reviewed these data to determine the current state of PCL-R psychopathy assessment in females and to guide a discussion of the clinical utility of the PCL-R in female samples. Here we discuss issues generated by existing data and offer specific research suggestions. This review shows that there is support for the measure's reliability in women and modest support for its validity. However, studies of the predictive utility and the factor structure of the PCL-R in women are required to demonstrate the generalize ability of PCL-R psychopathy to women.