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Sex Abuse. 2006 Jan;18(1):65-82.

Psychopathy, sexual deviance, and recidivism among sex offenders.

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  • 1Mental Health and Addiction Services, Young Offender Team, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada.


The relationships between psychopathy, sex offender type, sexual deviance, and recidivism were examined in 156 federally incarcerated sex offenders in a 10-year follow-up study. The rapists and mixed offenders demonstrated higher psychopathy scores than did the child molesters and incest offenders (total scores and Factor 2 scores on the Psychopathy Checklist--Revised [PCL-R]; R. D. Hare, 2003). Factor 1 scores were approximately the same in all groups. The PCL-R was a weak predictor of sexual recidivism but consistently predicted nonsexual violent recidivism and general recidivism (mainly via Factor 2). Sexual deviance measured by a structured rating scheme predicted sexual recidivism. Sexual deviance, so rated, was a stronger predictor of sexual recidivism than psychopathy but the two interacted significantly suggesting that psychopathy could potentiate sexual recidivism. Although psychopathy was a strong positive predictor of general nonsexual recidivism, sexual deviance was inversely related, and no interaction was observed between psychopathy, sexual deviance, and nonsexual recidivism.

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