United Kingdom (England, Scotland, Wales)


The CAPP developers have carried out field trials of the CAPP-IRS assessment procedure, and tested the construct validity of the CAPP model, with adult male offenders (prisoners and forensic psychiatric patients) in England (e.g. at DSPS sites) and in Scotland. They are also conducting an online study on the construct validity of the CAPP model.


David Cooke, Stephen Hart or Caroline Logan


PhD thesis (2009). Mette K. F. Kreis, Glasgow Caledonian University, Scotland. Title: Psychopathy in Women: A Multi-Method Exploration of the Construct using the Comprehensive Assessment of Psychopathic Personality (CAPP).

As part of her PhD research into psychopathy in women, Mette Kreis conducted several studies using the CAPP. These included content validation of the CAPP across gender using prototypical analysis, and piloting the CAPP-IRS with adult female offenders at an English prison/DSPD site and a Canadian forensic psychiatric hospital. The research was supervised by Prof David Cooke and Dr Lisa Marshall.


The construct of psychopathy has been intensely investigated yet predominantly in men (e.g., Nicholls & Petrila, 2005). Consequently, little is known about this severe personality disorder in women and no conceptualization of female psychopathy exists. To progress current knowledge, researchers have been urged to go ‘back to basics’ and start to map and describe the symptoms and domains salient to the construct in women (Forouzan & Cooke, 2005). This project aimed to do this using a new and gender sensitive psychopathy framework, the Comprehensive Assessment of Psychopathic Personality (CAPP; Cooke, Hart, Logan, & Michie, 2004). Secondly it aimed to construct validate – as the first – the CAPP with women. The thesis also explored the theoretical basis for understanding gender differences in psychopathy, something the field has neglected to do. Firstly the construct was defined in women, a psychopathic female prototype developed, and the CAPP content validated across gender using prototypical analysis. Secondly the construct was explored and described in a sample of women offenders (N = 20) with the CAPP and other personality assessments, using both semi-structured interview and self-report. It is concluded that at a symptom level prototypical psychopathic women and men are very similar, yet important gender differences do exist, especially in the expression of symptoms. The CAPP captures psychopathy well across gender but standard measures of psychopathy (e.g., the Psychopathy Checklist-Revised; Hare, 2003) are not sensitive enough to the construct in women. This project provided an original and valuable contribution towards a clearer understanding of female psychopathy by employing a ‘back to basics’ approach and the CAPP model.

A copy of the thesis can be obtained through Ethos, The British Library

See also the ‘Publications’ section.