An Investigation of Primary and Secondary Psychopathy in a Statewide Sample of Incarcerated Youth Academic Article uri icon


  • There has been considerable interest in the identification of putative subtypes of psychopathy over the past several years although none of this research has focused on juveniles who are high in psychopathic traits. Using a statewide sample of juvenile offenders, the present study sought to identify subtypes consistent with theoretical notions of primary and secondary psychopathy. Among those youths high in psychopathic traits ( n = 132), finite mixture modeling of various indicators of psychological distress resulted in a two-class solution. Consistent with theory, one subtype was characterized by higher levels of distress (e.g., anxiety, depression, suicidal ideation), whereas the other subgroup was lower on these dimensions and generally similar to nonpsychopathic control juveniles ( n = 135). Analyses of theoretically relevant external correlates (e.g., offense history, drug use, victimization) suggested that the two subtypes differed from each other on certain key variables as well as differed from the nonpsychopathic controls.

published proceedings


altmetric score

  • 3

author list (cited authors)

  • Vaughn, M. G., Edens, J. F., Howard, M. O., & Smith, S. T.

citation count

  • 108

complete list of authors

  • Vaughn, Michael G||Edens, John F||Howard, Matthew O||Smith, Shannon Toney

publication date

  • July 2009