Psychometric Properties of Carver and White’s (1994) BIS/BAS Scales in a Large Sample of Offenders
Psychopathy, BIS/BAS scales, Gray’s theory
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Contemporary motivational theories of psychopathy (Lykken, 1995) employ constructs from Gray’s Reinforcement Sensitivity Theory (RST; Gray, 1982), behavioral inhibition system (BIS) and behavioral activation system (BAS) functioning, to explain etiologic differences in psychopathy subtypes. Carver and White’s (1994) BIS/BAS scales are the most widely used measures of these constructs, yet there is a dearth of research on how these measures perform with offenders. Using a sample of 1515 offenders, we found evidence that five, rather than the usual four factors, underpin the BIS/BAS scales. Importantly, BIS items that tap into anxiety and fear sensitivity, respectively, split to form separate factors, yielding a structure that is more consistent with the revised (Gray & McNaughton, 2000) than with the earlier version of RST. Implications for the use of the BIS/BAS scales to study psychopathy in offenders are discussed.
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Citation / Publisher Attribution
Personality and Individual Differences, v. 45, issue 8, p. 732-737
Scholar Commons Citation
Poythress, Norman; Skeem, Jennifer L.; Weir, John; Lilienfeld, Scott O.; Douglas, Kevin S.; Edens, John F.; and Kennealy, Patrick J., "Psychometric Properties of Carver and White’s (1994) BIS/BAS Scales in a Large Sample of Offenders" (2008). Mental Health Law & Policy Faculty Publications. 61.