Psychopathy and sexual assault: static risk factors, emotional precursors, and rapist subtypes

J Consult Clin Psychol. 1997 Oct;65(5):848-57. doi: 10.1037//0022-006x.65.5.848.


This study compared psychopathic and nonpsychopathic rapists on static risk factors and on emotional and motivational precursors. Sixty incarcerated rapists were assessed for psychopathy with the Psychopathy Checklist--Revised (R. D. Hare, 1991), and they were classified according to the Massachusetts Treatment Center: Revised Rapist Typology, Version 3 (R. A. Knight & R. A. Prentky, 1990b). Psychopathy was positively associated with past nonsexual offenses and negatively associated with age onset for criminal offending, number of sexual victims, and the intensity of negative emotions experienced before sexual offending. However, psychopathy was not related to sexual offense history, age of onset for sexual offending, or victim harm. Last, psychopaths were most likely to be classified as opportunistic and pervasively angry rapists. The findings indicate that psychopathy should be considered when developing intervention strategies for rapists.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anger
  • Antisocial Personality Disorder / diagnosis*
  • Antisocial Personality Disorder / psychology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motivation*
  • Personality Assessment
  • Prisoners / psychology*
  • Rape / psychology*
  • Risk Factors
  • Violence / psychology