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Gender differences in psychopathy in a Swedish offender sample
Forensic Psychiatric Center, Sundsvall, Sweden. (Center for Criminological and Psychosocial Research)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-8285-0935
Forensic Psychiatric Center, Sundsvall, Sweden; Mid Sweden University, Sweden.
2005 (English)In: Behavioral sciences & the law (Print), ISSN 0735-3936, E-ISSN 1099-0798, Vol. 23, no 6, 837-850 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In this study we examined gender differences in the PCL:SV employing a variety of statistical methods with two subsets of psychopathic individuals drawn from larger samples of 129 female and 499 male Swedish offenders. The larger samples included forensic psychiatric patients, forensic psychiatric evaluees and criminal offenders. We found gender differences in antisocial behavior, as defined in factor 2 of the PCL:SV, with female psychopaths (PCL:SV >= 18) displaying significantly more lying, deceitfulness and lack of control, while male psychopaths were more antisocial as measured by the PCL:SV. We conclude that it might be meaningful to use gender specific definitions in the assessment of psychopathy or, alternatively, slightly revise the diagnostic tools. Our results support the use of the three-factor model of the PCL-R and PCL:SV introduced by Cooke and Michie (2001) in female populations

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
John Wiley & Sons, 2005. Vol. 23, no 6, 837-850 p.
National Category
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-54040DOI: 10.1002/bsl.674ISI: 000234574000007PubMedID: 16333809ScopusID: 2-s2.0-30544444089OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-54040DiVA: diva2:1057672
Available from: 2016-12-19 Created: 2016-12-19 Last updated: 2017-01-10Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Violence risk assessment in male and female mentally disordered offenders: differences and similarities
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Violence risk assessment in male and female mentally disordered offenders: differences and similarities
2006 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

When assessing the risk of violence, increasing interest has been shown in bringing science and practice closer together. Moving from clinical intuition in the first generation of risk assessment via actuarial scales in the second generation to the structured professional judgments where risk assessments are today produces better, more valid results when assessing the risk of violence. One of the best predictors of violence is gender. Approximately 10% of the violent criminality can be attributed to women; even so, it is increasing, especially among young women. It is therefore important to examine risk assessments from a gender perspective. Another important factor when assessing the risk of violence is psychopathy and there are indications that there might be gender differences in this diagnosis. Thus, a special interest has been focused on psychopathy in this thesis. The purpose with this work is to explore the similarities and differences in assessing risk for violence in male and female mentally disordered offenders, while the overall aim is to validate the violence risk assessment instrument HCR-20 for Swedish offender populations. The risk assessments for all six studies in this thesis were made by trained personnel using the HCR-20 instrument, where psychopathy was diagnosed with the screening version of the Psychopathy Checklist (PCL:SV). The study populations were both male and female mentally disordered offenders in either the correctional or the forensic setting.

The findings show that both the validity and the reliability of the HCR-20 and the PCL:SV were good and the clinical and risk management subscales were found to have better predictive validity than the historical scale. Another finding was that there were more similarities than differences between genders in the HCR-20, while the opposite applied to the PCL:SV, where the antisocial behavior was performed in a different manner. Moreover, it was found that the gender of the assessor might be a factor to take into account when assessing the risk of violence in women, where the recommendation was that at least one assessor should be female. The conclusions were that the HCR-20 and the PCL:SV can be used In Swedish offender populations with valid results. For female offenders, there are differences in the antisocial behavior that is assessed in order to diagnose psychopathy and these differences tend to underestimate psychopathy among female offenders. Furthermore, the gender of the assessor might be of greater importance than has previously been realized. The overall conclusion was that this thesis supports the structural professional judgment method of making risk assessments in order to prevent violence in the community.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Sundsvall: Mid Sweden University, 2006. 76 p.
Mid Sweden University Doctoral Thesis, ISSN 1652-893X ; 9
Risk assessment, HCR-20, psychopathy, PCL:SV, female offenders, mentally disordered offenders, antisocial behavior, violent recidivism
National Category
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-54118 (URN)91-85317-21-7 (ISBN)
Public defence
2006-12-04, Campus Sundsvall, Sundsvall, 10:00 (English)
Available from: 2016-12-20 Created: 2016-12-20 Last updated: 2016-12-20Bibliographically approved

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