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Identifying Critical Dimensions for Discriminating Among Rapists

NCJ Number
Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology Volume: 59 Issue: 5 Dated: (October 1991) Pages: 643-661
Date Published
19 pages
Considerable evidence in studies of both offender and nonoffender samples demonstrates that sexual aggression is determined by several variables and that convicted sexual offenders are markedly heterogeneous.
Attempts to identify sexually coercive men in normal samples and to assess etiology, concurrent adaptation, treatment efficacy, and recidivism for convicted sexually aggressive offenders have also suggested that critical determining components of sexual aggression interact in complex ways. Strategies that examine the apparent heterogeneity of rapists focus on rational versus empirical techniques, clustering algorithms, and discriminating dimensions versus typological classification. Primary sources for hypotheses about critical discriminating characteristics involve clinical speculations and descriptive empirical studies. In evaluating hypothetically discriminating dimensions, consideration must be given to the amount and meaning of aggression, lifestyle impulsivity, antisocial personality traits, social competence, sexual fantasies, sadism, irrational attitudes and cognitive distortions, control and dominance, and disinhibitors. Problems associated with the creation of sexual aggression models are discussed. 99 references, 2 tables, and 2 figures (Author abstract modified)

Date Published: January 1, 1991