Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment, Vol. 17, No. 3, July 2005 (
Sexual Offenders Against Children: The Inﬂuence
of Personality and Obsessionality
on Cognitive Distortions
and Marie Blair
Sexual offenders against children are generally inadequate in their social func-
tioning and diverse in their psychopathology. The degree to which this inadequate
functioning and psychopathology inﬂuences therapeutic interventions brings into
question the belief that generic nonclinical programmatic treatment work is always
appropriate for such a cohort. The Sex Offenders Assessment Package (SOAP)
measures inadequate social functioning and sexual deviance, but has not been
linked to broader individual differences and generic psychopathology. We col-
lected information examining the relationship between the SOAP and standard
measures of personality (the NEO-FFI) and obsessive-compulsiveness (MOCI) in
a sample of 200 sexual offenders against children seen by the Probation Service.
Factor analysis was used to reduce the SOAP to three reliable factors: emotional
distress, cognitions supporting sex with children, and concern for others. These
factors correlated respectively with higher Neuroticism and lower Extroversion;
greater obsessive-compulsiveness on the MOCI, and trait Agreeableness, irre-
spective of whether or not one corrected for socially desirable responding. When
partial correlation controlled for the inﬂuence of Neuroticism on the correlation
between cognitions supporting sex with children and the MOCI, there was no
change in the association between these variables. These results show that nega-
tive affect and obsessional tendencies are important underlying inﬂuences on the
feelings and behavior of sexual offenders, that the obsessionality of the group is
not attributable to Neuroticism, and suggest useful additional foci to enhance the
treatment of this diverse clinical group.
KEY WORDS: sexual offenders; paedophilia; obsessions; obsessive-compulsiveness; personality.
Department of Psychology, Glasgow Caledonian University, Glasgow, United Kingdom.
East Midlands Centre for Forensic Mental Health, Leicester, United Kingdom.
To whom correspondence should be addressed at Department of Psychology, Glasgow Caledonian
University, Cowcaddens Road, Glasgow G4 0BA, United Kingdom; e-mail: email@example.com.
2005 Springer Science+Business Media, Inc.