Psychopathic Processing and Personality Assessment (PAPA): Exploring factor structure

Lewis, Michael orcid iconORCID: 0000-0001-5567-3569, Ireland, Jane Louise orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-5117-5930, Ireland, Carol Ann orcid iconORCID: 0000-0001-7310-2903, Derefaka, Gail, McNeill, Kimberley and Birch, Philip (2021) Psychopathic Processing and Personality Assessment (PAPA): Exploring factor structure. Journal of Criminal Psychology, 11 (2). ISSN 2009-3829

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Purpose: The current study explored the structure of the newly developed Psychopathic Processing and Personality Assessment (PAPA) among a non-forensic sample.
Design: The primary aim was to assess whether the factor structure of the PAPA could be confirmed in a large community sample (n = 1,850), comprising three subsamples of adult men (n = 189, 248 and 198) and women (n = 499, 469 and 247). It was predicted that the four-factor solution originally proposed in earlier studies (i.e. dissocial tendencies; emotional detachment; disregard for others; lack of sensitivity to emotion) would be replicated; and produce a multi-dimensional structure consistent across sex.
Findings: Although exploratory analysis indicated a four-factor solution, the structure was different with ‘lack of sensitivity to emotion’ being replaced by ‘responsiveness to perceived aggression’. Confirmatory analyses supported this structure among women, yet a three-factor structure was preferred for men that excluded emotional detachment.
Research implications: The study highlights the importance of attending to sex differences when assessing for psychopathy.
Originality: This is the first confirmatory factor analysis completed on the PAPA, with the findings conveying its value when assessing for psychopathic traits among a community sample.

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