Comprehensive Assessment of Psychopathic Personality

This site provides information on the Comprehensive Assessment of Psychopathic Personality (CAPP). CAPP is a concept map that describes the key symptoms of psychopathic personality disorder. The CAPP concept map was developed (CAPP DEVELOPMENT) through multiple processes, including reviews of the clinical and research literatures together with detailed interviews with subject-matter experts. The information gained was translated into natural language trait-descriptive adjectives or brief adjectival phrases. Thirty-three symptoms were derived and then allocated to six domains representing basic functional domains of personality—Attachment, Behavioural, Cogntive, Dominance, Emotional, and Self.

The CAPP concept map is hierarchical in nature; the disorder is underpinned by six domains, each entailing between 4 and 7 symptoms, and each symptom is further defined by a triad of trait-descriptive adjectives or adjectival phrases. This concept map can represent the concept in around 180 words of text or a single graphic.

The CAPP concept map allows us to understand what we want to measure; therefore, different measures can be developed to operationalize the map and guide how we capture the essential features of the concept. And this is what we have tried to do.  The distinction between concept and operation is an important one. It is common to conflate what is being measured—the concept—with how it is being measured—the test or scale. Clearly, the concept of intelligence is not the same as the score on an intelligence test. Failure to make the distinction between concept and measure impairs effective research; for example, if findings are based on only one measure it is impossible to determine whether findings reflect properties of the measure or properties of the underlying construct.

Importantly, the CAPP is a process developed primarily for research. While it is experimental and currently undergoing validation, there is growing evidence for the clinical validity and utility of its measures.

There is growing evidence that some users think it is appropriate to use CAPP measures as a structured professional judgement approach to the assessment of psychopathy, to be utilised in addition to standardized, validated measures or in situations where no such measures exist; for example, for assessing change or situations where a detailed and nuanced diagnostic formulation is required.