The Abbreviated Psychopathy Measure (APM): Two Pilot Studies of a Brief Measure of Psychopathy Traits

  •  Robert Semel    


Two studies were undertaken to examine preliminary construct validity of a newly developed, abbreviated measure of psychopathy.  The Abbreviated Psychopathy Measure (APM) is a 33-item inventory that is closely modeled on the Triarchic Psychopathy Measure (TriPM; Patrick, 2010), with a new and more parsimonious set of items.  Analyses in Study 1 ( = 126) found that the Boldness, Meanness, and Disinhibition scales of the APM had high internal consistency reliabilities and were highly correlated with their counterpart scales on the TriPM.  The APM Total score was very highly correlated with the TriPM Total score (r = .90).  Each of the APM scales was also significantly correlated with a measure of Antisocial Intent.  In Study 2 (N = 140), the APM was very highly correlated with the Total score of a 36-item version of the Levenson Self-Report Psychopathy Scales (LSRP; Levenson, Kiehl, & Fitzpatrick, 1995). Additionally, the APM scales were associated differentially with normal range personality variables associated with psychopathy (e.g., Boldness was robustly associated with Extraversion, Meanness was highly and inversely associated with Agreeableness, Disinhibition was robustly and negatively associated with Conscientiousness).  The APM appeared to differ most significantly from the TriPM in that APM Boldness was moderately correlated with Meanness and Disinhibition.  APM Boldness may capture a more maladaptive quality of boldness relative to TriPM Boldness through a greater emphasis on low harm avoidance or fearlessness in comparison to TriPM Boldness.  The APM is potentially a promising brief measure of psychopathy; however, further study is needed to determine whether the moderately inter-correlated APM scales can distinguish among conceptually relevant constructs.  Directions for future research are discussed.

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