Youth psychopathy and criminal recidivism: a meta-analysis of the psychopathy checklist measures. Academic Article uri icon


  • Although narrative reviews have suggested that "youth psychopathy" is a strong predictor of future crime and violence, to date no quantitative summaries of this literature have been conducted. We meta-analyzed recidivism data for the Psychopathy Checklist measures across 21 non-overlapping samples of male and female juvenile offenders. After removing outliers, psychopathy was significantly associated with general and violent recidivism (r (w)'s of .24 and .25, respectively), but negligibly related to sexual recidivism in the few studies examining this low base rate outcome. Even after eliminating outliers, however, considerable heterogeneity was noted among the effects, with some of this variability being explained by the gender and ethnic composition of the samples. Effect sizes for the small number of female samples available for analysis were mostly small and nonsignificant, and psychopathy was a weaker predictor of violent recidivism among more ethnically heterogeneous samples. In relation to predicting both general and violent recidivism, psychopathy performed comparably to an instrument designed specifically to assess risk, the Youth Level of Service/Case Management Inventory (Hoge & Andrews, 2002).

published proceedings

  • Law Hum Behav

altmetric score

  • 6

author list (cited authors)

  • Edens, J. F., Campbell, J. S., & Weir, J. M

citation count

  • 309

complete list of authors

  • Edens, John F||Campbell, Justin S||Weir, John M

publication date

  • February 2007