New Model of Psychopathy - Psychopathic Personality Traits Scale (PPTS)

(Boduszek, Debowska, Dhingra, & DeLisi, 2016)




Although Cleckley's (1941) conceptualization of psychopathy received the most widespread acceptance among researchers and clinicians, some of the traits listed in his clinical profile, such as pathological egocentricity, are largely missing from the existing psychopathy assessment tools. Further, some researchers have recently suggested that criminal/antisocial tendencies are the consequence of psychopathic traits, rather than an integral part of the disorder, and individuals with increased psychopathic traits may be successful in both criminal and non-criminal endeavors (e.g., Boduszek & Debowska, 2016; Boduszek, Dhingra, Hyland, & Debowska, 2015; Cooke & Michie, 2001; Skeem & Cooke, 2010). Thus, given the broad spectrum of activities in which psychopaths may engage, the inclusion of behavioral items in psychopathy scales appears counterproductive. Instead, there was a need for a clean personality measure of psychopathy with predictive utility for criminal/antisocial behavior, which could be used among both forensic and non-forensic populations (Boduszek & Debowska, 2016; Johansson et al., 2002). Accordingly, in line with Skeem and Cooke's (2010, p. 455) assertion, new generation of research which “distinguishes between personality deviation and social deviance” is warranted. In order to address the above issues, we introduced a new model of psychopathy, and created and validated a brief self-report scale of psychopathic personality traits for research purposes. Our goal was to design a measure which would grasp the essence of a psychopathic personality (i.e., affective responsiveness, cognitive responsiveness, interpersonal manipulation, and egocentricity), regardless of respondents' age, gender, cultural background, and criminal history.




Psychopathic Personality Traits Scale (PPTS; Boduszek, Debowska, Dhingra, & DeLisi, 2016) is a self-reported 20-item measure designed to assess psychopathic traits in forensic and non-forensic populations. The scale was developed to measure four factors labeled affective responsiveness (factor 1), cognitive responsiveness (factor 2), interpersonal manipulation (factor 3), and egocentricity (factor 4). Each subscale consists of five items measured using agree (1) and disagree (0) format (i.e., a trait is either present or absent). Scores range from 0 to 20, with higher scores indicating elevated levels of psychopathic personality traits. The affective responsiveness subscale is made up of items concerning characteristics of low empathy and emotional shallowness. Cognitive responsiveness subscale measures the ability to understand others' emotional states, mentally represent another person's emotional processes, and engage with others' emotionally at a cognitive level. The interpersonal manipulation subscale measures characteristics such as superficial charm, grandiosity, and deceitfulness. Finally, egocentricity subscale assesses an individual's tendency to focus on one's own interests, beliefs, and attitudes. All scale items are measured through knowledge/skills and attitudes/beliefs, rather than behaviors.

The Integrated Psychosocial Model of Criminal Social Identity - IPM-CSI 

(Boduszek, Dhingra, & Debowska, 2016)


The integrated psychosocial model of criminal social identity attempts to synthesize, distil, and extend our knowledge and understanding of why people develop criminal social identity, with a particular focus on the psychological and social factors involved. We suggest that the development of criminal social identity results from a complex interplay of four important groups of psychosocial factors: (1) an identity crisis which results in weak bonds with society, peer rejection, and is associated with poor parental attachment and supervision; (2) exposure to a criminal/antisocial environment in the form of associations with criminal friends before, during, and/or after incarceration; (3) a need for identification with a criminal group in order to protect one’s self-esteem; and (4) the moderating role of personality traits in the relationship between criminal/antisocial environment and the development of criminal social identity. The model produces testable hypotheses and points to potential opportunities for intervention and prevention.



































Boduszek, D., Dhingra, K., & Debowska, A. (2016 - in press). The Integrated Psychosocial Model of Criminal Social Identity (IPM-CSI). Deviant Behavior. DOI:10.1080/01639625.2016.1167433. (ISSN 0163-9625)


Sherretts, N., Boduszek, D., & Debowska, A. (2016). Period of incarceration and criminal social identity: the moderating role of interpersonal manipulation psychopathy factor in a sample of adult prisoners. Law and Human Behavior. DOI: 10.1037/lhb0000188. (ISSN 0147-7307)


Boduszek, D., Dhingra, K., & Debowska, A. (2016). The Moderating Role of Psychopathic Traits in the Relationship between Period of Confinement and Criminal Social Identity in a Sample of Juvenile Prisoners. Journal of Criminal Justice. 44, 30-35. DOI: 10.1016/j.jcrimjus.2015.11.005. (ISSN 0047-2352)


Shagufta, S., Boduszek, D., Dhingra, K., & Palmer-Kola, D. (2015). Criminal Social Identity and Suicide Ideation among Pakistani Young Offenders. International Journal of Prisoner Helath, 25(2), 98-107. DOI: 10.1108/IJPH-06-2014-0018. (ISSN 1744-9200)


Shagufta, S., Boduszek, D., Dhingra, K., & Palmer-Kola, D. (2015). Latent Classes of Delinquent Behaviour Associated With Criminal Social Identity among Juvenile Offenders in Pakistan. Journal of Forensic Practice, 17(2), 117-126. DOI: 10.1108/JFP-08-2014-0026. (ISSN 2050-8794)


Boduszek, D., Adamson, G., Shevlin, M., Mallett, J., & Hyland, P. (2013). Criminal Social Identity of Recidivistic Prisoners: The Role of Self-Esteem, Family and Criminal Friends. Journal of Police and Criminal Psychology, 28(1), 15-25. DOI: 10.1007/s11896-012-9105-7 (ISSN 0882-0783) 


Boduszek, D., Adamson, G., Shevlin, M., Hyland, P., & Bourke, A. (2013). The Mediating Role of Criminal Social Identity in Relationship between Criminal Friends and Criminal Thinking Style within a sample of recidivistic prisoners. Journal of Human Behavior in the Social Environment. 23(1), 14-28. DOI:10.1080/10911359.2013.737289 (ISSN 1091-1359)


Boduszek, D., Adamson, G., Shevlin, M., & Hyland, P. (2012). The Role of Personality in the Relationship between Criminal Social Identity and Criminal Thinking Style within a Sample of Prisoners with Learning Difficulties. Journal of Learning Disabilities and Offending Behaviour, 3(1), 12-24. DOI: 10.1108/20420921211236771 (ISSN 2050-8824)


Boduszek, D., Adamson, G., Shevlin, M., & Hyland, P. (2012). Development and Validation of a Measure of Criminal Social Identity within a sample of Polish Recidivistic Prisoners. Criminal Behaviour and Mental Health, 22(5), 315-324. DOI: 10.1002/cbm.1827 (ISSN 1471-2857)