Are Secondary Variants of Juvenile Psychopathy More Reactively Violent and Less Psychosocially Mature Than Primary Variants?

There is growing support for the disaggregation of psychopathy into primary and secondary variants. This study examines whether variants of psychopathy can be identified in a subsample (n = 116) of juvenile offenders with high scores on the Youth Version of the Psychopathy Checklist (PCL:YV). Model-based cluster analysis of offenders’ scores on the PCL:YV and a measure of anxiety suggested a two-group solution. The derived clusters manifested expected differences across theoretically relevant constructs of abuse history, hostility, and psychiatric symptoms. Compared with low-anxious primary variants, high-anxious secondary variants manifested more institutional violence, greater psychosocial immaturity, and more instability in institutional violence over a 2-year period, but similar stability in PCL:YV scores.