Psychometric Validation of a Simplified Form of the PICTS for Low-Reading Level Populations

  • David J. Disabato
  • Johanna B. Folk
  • John Wilson
  • Sharen Barboza
  • Jordan Daylor
  • June Tangney


The Psychological Inventory of Criminal Thinking Styles (PICTS) is one of the most widely used measures of criminal thinking. Although the PICTS has adequate psychometric qualities with many general population inmates, the measurement confound of reading ability may decrease its construct validity in low-literacy inmates. To help resolve this confound, we present psychometric evaluation of a simplified version of the PICTS (PICTS-SV) in which item language was simplified but item content was preserved. We first conducted Lexile analyses to confirm the reading level of the PICTS-SV is significantly lower than the original PICTS (i.e., sixth grade versus ninth grade). We then tested a bifactor model to confirm the PICTS-SV contains the same two factors as the original PICTS: proactive and reactive criminal thinking. These PICTS-SV results are commensurate with the factor structure of the original PICTS. Results suggest the PICTS-SV is a valid alternative for assessing criminal thinking in inmates with low reading ability.


PICTS Criminal thinking Literacy levels Clinical assessment 



The authors are grateful to Dr. Walters for providing permission to modify the original PICTS and for his initial review of this paper.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

David J. Disabato, Johanna B. Folk, John Wilson, Sharen Barboza, Jordan Daylor and June Tangney declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Experiment Participants

Dr. Wilson and Dr. Barboza are employees of MHM Services, Inc., which provides contractual behavioral health services to state correctional systems. All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. This was a retrospective study, and formal consent is not required.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • David J. Disabato
    • 1
  • Johanna B. Folk
    • 1
  • John Wilson
    • 2
  • Sharen Barboza
    • 2
  • Jordan Daylor
    • 1
  • June Tangney
    • 1
  1. 1.George Mason UniversityFairfaxUSA
  2. 2.MHM Services, Inc.ViennaUSA

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