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

Michael Lewis, Jane Ireland, Carol Ireland, Gail Derefaka, Kimberley McNeill, Philip Birch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper aims to assess whether the factor structure of the Psychopathic Processing and Personality Assessment (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. Design/methodology/approach: This study explored the structure of the newly developed PAPA among a non-forensic sample. 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 limitations/implications: This study highlights the importance of attending to sex differences when assessing for psychopathy. Originality/value: 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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)157-172
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Criminal Psychology
Issue number2
Early online date09 Jul 2021
Publication statusPublished - 21 Jul 2021


Dive into the research topics of 'Psychopathic Processing and Personality Assessment (PAPA): exploring factor structure'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this