Screening Tests for Psychopathy
SCREENING IS: Valid and reliable. How we estimate the risk for violent or anti-social behavior. And prepare to treat it.
This information should not be used to diagnose or treat. It is not meant to take the place of consultation with a healthcare professional. If you have concerns, you should contact your healthcare provider for a screening.
The screening tests below have proved reliable in estimating the risk of psychopathy. And can prove to be your first step towards living a better life.
On this page, we provide screening tests you can use to assess yourself or someone you know well for psychopathy. Each takes only a few minutes to complete.
After you complete the assessment, you will be provided with a score, and an estimate of how a person with that score compares to others of the same age and gender. You will also be provided information to help you interpret the score and what it means.
The screening tests are called the Triarchic Psychopathy Measure (TriPM), which is used to assess adults, and the Inventory of Callous Unemotional Traits (ICU), which is used to assess children and adolescents.
Take a Screening Test
Screening Test for Preschool Children
Callous-unemotional traits are the core emotional and social risk factors for psychopathy. The Preschool Version of the ICU (Inventory of Callous Unemotional Traits), developed by Paul Frick and colleagues, can reliably assess these traits in children between the ages of 2 and 5 (psychopathic traits can emerge as early as 2 or 3 years of age).
Screening Test for Youth and Adolescents
Callous-unemotional traits are the core emotional and social risk factors for psychopathy. The ICU (Inventory of Callous Unemotional Traits), developed by Paul Frick and colleagues, can reliably assess these traits in children and adolescents between the ages of 6 and 17.
Screening Test for Adults
Psychopathy reflects a combination of traits that include boldness, callousness, and impulsivity. The TriPM (Triarchic Psychopathy Model), developed by Chris Patrick and colleagues, can reliably assess these traits in adults ages 18 and older.
Are the TriPM and ICU “Psychopath Tests”?
The TriPM is a valid and reliable assessment of psychopathy. The ICU is a valid and reliable assessment of callous-unemotional traits, which are a risk factor for psychopathy in youths. However, there are many other available tests. In detention settings (prisons, jails, and other detention settings), psychopathy may be assessed by a trained examiner using the Psychopathy Checklist-Revised (PCL-R) (there are several versions of this test). The PCL-R and related tests are sometimes referred to as “psychopath tests.”
A score above a 30 on the PCL-R has sometimes been used to determine that someone is “a psychopath.” However, psychopathy is a spectrum trait, no matter what scale is used to measure it. Risks for outcomes like aggression, crime, and other antisocial behaviors increase with higher scores on any psychopathy scale. But no psychopathy score can definitively predict a person’s future outcomes, and no single test represents a “gold standard” for assessing psychopathy.
All validated measures of psychopathy have strengths and weaknesses and are more appropriate in some settings than others. The PCL-R test was created for use in forensic settings and requires a trained examiner to administer. As a result, it is not well suited for assessing yourself or someone you know.
Can the TriPM or ICU be used to diagnose psychopathy?
Scores on the TriPM and ICU are not clinical diagnoses. A person cannot be clinically diagnosed as a psychopath. For a mental disorder to be a clinical diagnosis, it must be listed in the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD-10) or The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual-5 (DSM-5), which are the manuals that mental health professionals use to diagnose mental illnesses. Psychopathy is not listed in these manuals.
However, scores on these measures of psychopathy can be used to compare a person’s level of psychopathy with typical psychopathy scores for people of their age and gender. They can be used to estimate a person’s risk for engaging in violent, criminal, or antisocial behavior.
A person with psychopathy can still benefit from a professional assessment. People with psychopathy may also have any of several recognized clinical disorders.