Psychological characteristics of Irish clerical sexual offenders

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Title: Psychological characteristics of Irish clerical sexual offenders
Authors: Randall, Patrick
Carr, Alan
Dooley, Barbara A.
Rooney, Brendan
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Date: Sep-2011
Online since: 2013-12-12T16:25:20Z
Abstract: Controlled studies suggest that clerical child sexual offenders may be better adjusted psychologically than their lay counterparts, although no studies of Irish clerical offenders have been reported. The aim of this study was to compare clerical and non-clerical sexual offenders with a normal control group, within an Irish context, on broad-band personality traits and narrow-band psychological characteristics that have been identified as risk factors for child sexual abuse. Thirty clerical men and 73 laymen who had sexually abused children and 30 lay controls completed the NEO Personality Inventory Revised (NEO-PI-R), the Sexual Offender Assessment Pack (SOAP) and the Multiphasic Sex Inventory (MSI). The three groups differed significantly on 11 of 18 dependent variables. The only variable which distinguished between the two groups of offenders was conscientiousness, with clerical offenders being more conscientious than lay offenders. The two groups of offenders showed significantly lower self-esteem than normal controls and scores indicative of greater denial on the MSI sexual social desirability scale. However, they also showed greater agreeableness and empathic concern than the control group. Compared with the control group, the lay offenders (but not the clerical offenders) showed greater neuroticism, less extraversion, less openness, greater emotional loneliness and more sensitivity to personal distress in others than the control group but also showed greater assertiveness. These results indicate that there were few differences between clerical and lay sexual offenders, and that clerical offenders differed from normal controls less than lay offenders on the Big Five personality traits and psychological risk factors for sexual offending assessed by the SOAP and MSI.
Type of material: Journal Article
Publisher: Routledge (Taylor & Francis)
Journal: The Irish Journal of Psychology
Volume: 32
Issue: 1-2
Start page: 4
End page: 13
Copyright (published version): 2011 Psychological Society of Ireland
Keywords: Clerical abuseSex Offender Assessment Pack (SOAP)NEO Personality Inventory Revised
DOI: 10.1080/03033910.2011.610191
Language: en
Status of Item: Peer reviewed
Appears in Collections:Psychology Research Collection

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