The Psychopathy Checklist—Revised (PCL-R) is the most widely used measure of psychopathy in forensic clinical practice, but the generalizability of the measure to offenders with intellectual disabilities (ID) has not been clearly established. This study examined the structural equivalence and scalar equivalence of the PCL-R in a sample of 185 male offenders with ID in forensic mental health settings, as compared with a sample of 1,212 male prisoners without ID. Three models of the PCL-R’s factor structure were evaluated with confirmatory factor analysis. The 3-factor hierarchical model of psychopathy was found to be a good fit to the ID PCL-R data, whereas neither the 4-factor model nor the traditional 2-factor model fitted. There were no cross-group differences in the factor structure, providing evidence of structural equivalence. However, item response theory analyses indicated metric differences in the ratings of psychopathy symptoms between the ID group and the comparison prisoner group. This finding has potential implications for the interpretation of PCL-R scores obtained with people with ID in forensic psychiatric settings.
Morrissey, C., Cooke, D., Michie, C., Hollin, C., Hogue, T. E., Lindsay, W. R., & Taylor, J. L. (2010). Structural, item, and test generalizability of the psychopathy checklist—revised to offenders with intellectual disabilities. Assessment, 17(1), 16-29. https://doi.org/10.1177/1073191109344052