The Big 5 dimensional personality approach to understanding sex offenders
Although previous research has reported that the incarceration of sex offenders does not significantly reduce re-offending, there is no adequate theory guiding remedial programs for this population. The aim of the present study was to examine whether normal personality variation provides useful theoretical insight into the nature of sex offences against children. The Revised NEO Personality Inventory (NEO PI-R), a measure of the five-factor model (FFM) of personality, was administered to 64 males incarcerated for child sex offences. Sex offenders were categorised into different offender groups comprising incest within the immediate family, incest within step-family and extra familial offence. A comparison group of 33 non-offender males also completed the NEO PI-R. Results indicated that the sex offender groups were significantly higher in Neuroticism and significantly lower in Extraversion and Conscientiousness compared to the non-offender group. Significant differences between the sex offender groups and comparison groups for NEO PI-R facets were also found. The implications of these findings in terms of early identification and treatment are discussed.
Psychology, Crime and Law
PRE2009-Personality, Abilities and Assessment