• What is the CAPP?

What is the CAPP?

The Comprehensive Assessment of Psychopathic Personality (CAPP) has been developed to assess the symptoms of psychopathic personality disorder (PPD). Two important features distinguish the CAPP from other tests of PPD; it is comprehensive and it is dynamic.


The CAPP covers the full domain of PPD symptomatology. This means the CAPP is potentially useful in a variety of settings (e.g. correctional, forensic psychiatric, civil psychiatric, community and family), rather than being optimized for use in a single setting.


The CAPP can be used to assess the severity of symptoms over discrete time periods, in addition to lifetime severity. This means the CAPP is potentially useful when it is necessary to measure changes in the severity of symptoms over time (e.g. when studying their developmental course, response to treatment, reaction to situational changes or variation in relation to the course of an axis one disorder). At present it is unclear to what extent traits of personality disorder change over time (if at all) or why they might change, but it is impossible to answer these questions empirically without a test that is (theoretically) sensitive to change.

Family of tests

The CAPP actually comprises a family of tests – all currently under development, and therefore experimental in nature – based on the same model of PPD. The current version, the Institutional Rating Scale or CAPP-IRS, is designed for use in secure treatment facilities (e.g. forensic psychiatric hospitals, civil psychiatric facilities, special hospital, prisons) where severe PPD symptomatology is relatively common and where important decisions (e.g. classification, programming, and release) may be based in part on apparent changes in PPD symptomatology over time. The CAPP-IRS permits trained observers to rate the recent severity of PPD symptoms; the time frame for rating symptoms is 6 months, and for each symptom we provide a list of behavioural indicators relevant to institutional adjustment. This family of instruments will include a Staff Rating Scale Version and a Life-Time Version.