n Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology - Psychopathy and its association with demographic variables in a South African female offender context

Volume 29 Number 2
  • ISSN : 1012-8093



A number of past studies have identified an association between psychopathy and specific demographic variables. However, these studies have predominantly been conducted on male offenders in the Western world. The following research responds to this gap in the psychopathy literature base by providing a description of the demographic variables of three groups of female South African offenders (N = 108). Specifically, the analysis aims to isolate demographic variables that discriminate between non-psychopathic, medium psychopathic and advanced psychopathic traits. Demographic data was obtained by means of a self-compiled biographical questionnaire, and levels of psychopathy were determined by using the Psychopathy Checklist-Revised (PCL-R). The chi-square test for independence revealed significant associations between the three groups with regard to the demographic variables under study. Distillation of the demographic data provides provisional support for the manifestation of secondary psychopathy in the present sample. The results underline the importance of specific demographic variables in identifying high-risk groups of offenders.

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