Introduction to the Special Issue on Juvenile Psychopathy, Volume 2: Juvenile Psychopathy: Informing the Debate

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A recent explosion of interest in the topic of ‘‘juvenile psychopathy’’ has been accompanied by sharp debate about whether the construct of psychopathy can validly and should be applied to youth. In the second consecutive special issue of Behavioral Sciences and the Law devoted to the topic of juvenile psychopathy, we present additional empirical articles to inform this debate. As noted in the first issue (Petrila & Skeem, 2003), three underlying controversies seem paramount: (i) the validity of extending adult models of psychopathy downward to youth, given patterns of personality development; (ii) the malleability or treatability of psychopathy- like features during youth; and (iii) the ethical and moral appropriateness of assessing psychopathy during youth. This volume contains six articles on juvenile psychopathy focused on three general topics, including the psychometrics of juvenile psychopathy measures; the relationship between psychopathy-like features and treatment progress; and a ‘‘road-map’’ for assessing the validity of psychopathy in youth.

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Behavioral Sciences & the Law, v. 22, issue 1, p. 1-4