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.


This study explored the structure of the newly developed PAPA among a non-forensic sample.


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.


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


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