Date of Award

12-7-2007

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Psychology

Committee Chair

James B. Lane, Ph.D.

Abstract

Previous research indicates that incest offenders and sexual offenders against unrelated children represent two clinically distinct subtypes. Specifically, incest is thought to be situation ally-mediated and the result of dysfunctional family dynamics, whereas offenses against unrelated children are thought to represent a fixated sexual preference and underlying interpersonal pathology. Other studies have found that a fixated sexual preference for children is correlated with psychopathy. However, to date, no studies have attempted to assess these differences using the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory-2 (MMPI-2), despite its widespread clinical use with this population. In this study, scores of convicted perpetrators of sexual offenses against children were compared. Nine incest offenders were compared with six offenders of unrelated children. The extrafamilial offender group obtained higher mean scores on scale 4 of the MMPI-2, the Psychopathic Deviate scale. These results suggest that extrafamilial offenders have more psychopathic characteristics than do incest offenders, however the Psychopathic Deviate construct as assessed by the MMPI-2 is broad, and attempts to gain a more detailed understanding of what specific aspects of the construct applied to this population were unsuccessful.

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