The confusion over psychopathy (II): Implications for forensic (correctional) practice

  • Shipley S
  • Arrigo B
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This article is the second in a two-part series on psychopathy. The first article systematically, although provisionally, reviewed the major transitions associated with psychopathy’s historical development, focusing on how changes in nomenclature, meaning, degree of social condemnation, and prognosis significantly affect the current understanding of this mental disorder. This article assesses the most pressing forensic practice issues stemming from the convoluted history of psychopathy. In particular, this article comments on assessment concerns related to the convergence and divergence of the antisocial personality disorder–psychopathy continuum, on diagnostic and treatment concerns related to countertransference and misdiagnosis, and on courtroom testimony concerns related to competent forensic evaluations particularly when clinical assessments of sexually violent predators are administered. On this latter point, this article explores the limits of the Hare Psychopathy Checklist–Revised, especially in regard to predicting accurately violent sexual recidivism. Ultimately, this article clarifies much of the confusion surrounding psychopathy and forensic (correctional) practice.

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  • Stacey Shipley

  • Bruce A. Arrigo

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