Exploring the relationship between psychopathy and criminal thinking: utilising the Tri-PM within a forensic sample

Shannon DeBlasio, Dara Mojtahedi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: The Triarchic Psychopathy Measure (Tri-PM) was developed in 2010 as an alternative approach to the assessment of psychopathy. The measure aims to capture psychopathic traits on a 3-factor model, which encompass the characteristics established in previous measures, as well as those evidenced within practise. Though support for the tool in academic research is growing, less is known about the scale’s utility within crime forensic settings. Thus, this study aims to explore the relationship between the Tri-PM psychopathy constructs and criminal cognition within a forensic sample. Design/methodology/approach: Seventy-three adult male offenders, convicted for acquisitive or sexual crimes, from a Category B prison within the Northwest of England completed questionnaires measuring their criminal backgrounds, psychopathy traits (Tri-PM; Patrick, 2010) and criminal thinking styles (Psychology Inventory of Criminal Thinking Styles; Walters, 2001). Findings: The Tri-PM measurement proved to be a successful predictor of most criminal thinking styles. Moreover, the meanness construct was the strongest predictor of proactive thinking styles, whereas the disinhibition construct was the strongest predictor of reactive thinking styles, and the boldness construct was negatively associated with reactive thinking. Comparisons among offender groups also indicated that acquisitive offenders reported higher scores of psychopathy and criminal thinking. Originality/value: This study offers valuable insight into the proposed relationship between psychopathy and criminal thinking, using a recent addition to the repertoire of psychopathy measurements, the Tri-PM. This study also offers practical implications for those offering treatment within forensic settings, with significant relationships identified between the highly scoring psychopathy constructs and various criminal thinking styles.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14-30
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Criminological Research, Policy and Practice
Issue number1
Early online date2 Jan 2023
Publication statusPublished - 9 Feb 2023


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