The characteristics of persistent sexual offenders: a meta-analysis of recidivism studies

J Consult Clin Psychol. 2005 Dec;73(6):1154-63. doi: 10.1037/0022-006X.73.6.1154.


A meta-analysis of 82 recidivism studies (1,620 findings from 29,450 sexual offenders) identified deviant sexual preferences and antisocial orientation as the major predictors of sexual recidivism for both adult and adolescent sexual offenders. Antisocial orientation was the major predictor of violent recidivism and general (any) recidivism. The review also identified some dynamic risk factors that have the potential of being useful treatment targets (e.g., sexual preoccupations, general self-regulation problems). Many of the variables commonly addressed in sex offender treatment programs (e.g., psychological distress, denial of sex crime, victim empathy, stated motivation for treatment) had little or no relationship with sexual or violent recidivism.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Periodicity*
  • Recurrence
  • Sex Offenses / statistics & numerical data*