The inverse relation between psychopathy and faking good: not response bias, but true variance in psychopathic personality

B. Verschuere*, K. Uzieblo, M. De Schryver, H. Douma, T. Onraedt, G. Crombez

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The possibility to assess psychopathy through self-report is debated, amongst others, because psychopathic individuals may deliberately under-report psychopathic features (fake good). Meta-analytic research has shown an inverse relation between faking good and self-reported psychopathy, possibly indicating that faking good lowered psychopathy scores (response bias). Low faking good scores, could, however, also reflect true variance in psychopathic personality to the extent that it reflects a disregard of social conventions. Through a secondary analysis (n = 675), we show that controlling for faking good significantly weakens, rather than strengthens, the associations between psychopathy scores and antisocial behavior (alcohol and drug abuse, indirect aggression, and delinquency). These findings indicate that the inverse relation between faking good and self-reported psychopathy reflects true variance in psychopathy personality (i.e. low social desirability), not a response bias.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)705-713
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Forensic Psychiatry & Psychology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014


  • antisocial behavior
  • faking
  • impression management
  • psychopathy
  • self-report
  • social desirability

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