Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.


Psychological and Brain Sciences

Committee Chair

Meyer, Robert G.

Author's Keywords

Forcefulness; Psychopathy; Sex offenders; Risk assessment


Sex offenders--Psychology; Sex offenders--Research


Based primarily on theory, it is suspected that violent and non-violent sex-offenders can be differentiated by their psychopathic profile, as measured by the Psychopathy Checklist-Revised (PCL-R; Hare, 1991). There is some concern that current risk-assessment instruments are not designed according to the characterological composition of violent and non-violent sex-offenders, which is believed to be essential to the instruments' predictive ability. Specifically, it is believed that such instruments are not sufficiently sensitive to the psychopathic characteristics associated with non-violent sex-offenders, as well as not sufficiently specific to the psychopathic characteristics associated with violent sex-offenders. A sample of convicted sex-offenders (N = 1739) from the Kentucky State Reformatory (KSR) was analyzed in order to examine the nature of the relationship between their PCL-R Factor and facet scores, and the degree of forcefulness used during their offense(s) (i.e. violent or non-violent). The degree to which the same elements of psychopathy correlate with the total scores on three commonly used risk-assessment instruments (VRAG, Static-99, and MnSOST-R) was then measured. As expected, results revealed that violent and non-violent sex-offenders were significantly differentiated by their PCL-R profiles; however the pattern of their respective PCL-R profiles was not as expected. In addition, it was revealed that all three risk-assessment instruments were primarily sensitive to the psychopathic characteristics contained in Factor 2 and facet 4 in particular, even though both violent and non-violent sex-offenders were primarily characterized by other dimensions of psychopathy, facets 2 and 3 in particular. Theoretical and clinical implications are discussed.