Do We Hold Males and Females to the Same Standard?

Authors Evelyn Klein Haneveld, Dylan Molenaar, Vivienne de Vogel, Wineke Smid, Jan Kamphuis
Published in Journal of Personality Assessment
Publication date 16 July 2021
Research groups Working with Mandated Clients
Type Article


ABSTRACT Psychopathy in females has been understudied. Extant data on gender comparisons using the predominant measure of assessment in clinical practice, the Psychopathy Checklist Revised (PCL-R), points to a potential lack of measurement invariance (MI). If indeed the instrument does not perform equally (well) in both genders, straightforward comparison of psychopathy scores in males and females is unwarranted. Using a sample of female and male forensic patients (N ¼ 110 and N ¼ 147 respectively), we formally tested for MI in a structural equation modeling framework. We found that the PCL-R in its current form does not attain full MI. Four items showed threshold biases and particularly Factor 2 (the Social Deviance Factor) is gender biased. Based on our findings, it seems reasonable to expect that specific scoring adjustments might go a long way in bringing about more equivalent assessment of psychopathic features in men and women. Only then can we begin to meaningfully compare the genders on the prevalence, structure, and external correlates of psychopathy

On this publication contributed

Language English
Published in Journal of Personality Assessment
Key words psychopathy, gender comparison, forensic patients
Digital Object Identifier 10.1080/00223891.2021.1947308