Comparing Two Alternative Measures of General Personality in the Assessment of Psychopathy: A Test of the NEO PI-R and the MPQ


concerning this article should be addressed to Joshua D. Miller, Department of Psychology, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602-3013. E-mail:


ABSTRACT This study examined the interrelations between two measures of personality, the Revised NEO Personality Inventory (NEO PI-R; P. T. Costa & R. R. McCrae, 1992) and the Multidimensional Personality Questionnaire (MPQ; Tellegen & Waller, 2008), and their relations with psychopathy in a sample of undergraduates. Results revealed good convergence between conceptually related personality traits; however, the NEO PI-R facets accounted for more variance in the MPQ subscales (mean R2=.49) than did MPQ subscales in NEO PI-R facets (mean R2=.35). Both accounted for substantial proportions of variance in psychopathy scores, although the NEO PI-R accounted for larger proportions and manifested greater incremental validity when using the broader domains of each measure; the differences decreased when the narrower facets/subscales were used. The results suggest that, although both measures assess psychopathy-related traits, the NEO PI-R provides a more complete description because of its assessment of interpersonal antagonism and the central role of this construct in psychopathy.