The screening scale for pedophilic interests predicts recidivism among adult sex offenders with child victims

Arch Sex Behav. 2004 Oct;33(5):455-66. doi: 10.1023/B:ASEB.0000037426.55935.9c.


The Screening Scale for Pedophilic Interests (SSPI; Seto & Lalumière, 2001), a brief measure of sexual attraction to prepubescent children that is based on victim characteristics, was used in two samples of 113 and 145 adult male sex offenders with child victims. In both samples, the SSPI was significantly and positively correlated with an index of phallometrically-measured sexual arousal to stimuli depicting prepubescent children. It was also significantly and positively correlated in both samples with violent recidivism (meaning either nonsexually violent offenses or sexual offenses involving physical contact with a victim), and positively correlated with sexual recidivism, significantly so in the second, larger sample. Focusing on the larger sample, the SSPI added to the predictive accuracy of a measure of general antisociality (the Psychopathy Checklist-Revised), while the phallometric index of sexual arousal did not add predictive accuracy once the other two measures were entered. The SSPI also yielded the same interaction between anomalous sexual interests and psychopathy we had previously reported using phallometric data (Rice & Harris, 1997). These findings suggest that the SSPI has predictive utility among adult male sex offenders with child victims, and accounts for variance in sexual offending that is not explained by phallometric testing.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Child
  • Child Abuse, Sexual / prevention & control
  • Child Abuse, Sexual / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Incest / prevention & control
  • Incest / psychology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Ontario
  • Pedophilia / prevention & control
  • Pedophilia / psychology*
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Plethysmography
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Risk Factors
  • Secondary Prevention
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Sex Offenses / psychology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires*
  • Survival Analysis
  • Time Factors