Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment, Vol. 18, No. 1, January 2006 (
Sex Offenders’ Response to Treatment
and its Association with Recidivism
as a Function of Psychopathy
Calvin M. Langton,
Howard E. Barbaree,
and Edward J. Peacock
Published online: 6 April 2006
This study examined the relationship between recidivism and ratings of response
to specialized cognitive behavioral treatment conducted in a prison setting among
418 sex offenders released to the community for an average follow-up period of
over 5 years. As well as testing for a main effect for treatment ratings, the potential
role of psychopathy assessed using the Psychopathy Checklist—Revised (PCL-R)
as a moderator of response to treatment was investigated. Ratings of response
to treatment failed to predict either serious (violent including sexual) or sexual
recidivism. For the more inclusive outcome of serious recidivism, there was no
signiﬁcant interaction between psychopathy and treatment ratings; however, the
ubiquitous effect of psychopathy on recidivism was found to be signiﬁcant. For
sexual recidivism, psychopathy was not signiﬁcant as a main effect, but a signif-
icant interaction between psychopathy and treatment ratings was found. Among
sex offenders with PCL-R scores of 25 or higher, those with ratings reﬂecting a
more negative response to treatment recidivated sexually at a faster rate than oth-
ers. This interaction effect was not signiﬁcant when treatment noncompleters were
removed from the data set. The results were discussed in terms of the methodology
involved in the assessment of response to treatment among sex offenders.
KEY WORDS: psychopathy; sex offenders; risk assessment; recidivism prediction; treatment
response and behavior.
University of Nottingham, Nottingham, England, and Peaks Unit, Rampton Hospital, Nottinghamshire
Healthcare Trust, Nottinghamshire, England.
University of Toronto, and Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
University of Birmingham, Birmingham, England.
Correctional Service of Canada, Ontario, Canada.
To whom correspondence should be addressed at Peaks Unit, Rampton Hospital, Retford,
Nottinghamshire DN22 0PD, England; e-mail: email@example.com.
2006 Springer Science+Business Media, Inc.