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Abstract: A Dimensional Model of Offense-related Sexual Interest

According to the Structured Risk Assessment model (Thornton, 2002) two aspects of the sexual interest domain may be offense-related: the direction of sexual interests and the regulation of sexual interest. This workshop presents research developing a dimensional model of this domain. The dimensional structure of the domain is explored using factor analysis, suggesting a four dimensional model comprising two dimensions of sexual preference (age preference and agonistic preference) and two dimensions of sexual self-regulation (sociosexuality and sexual compulsivity). Three issues are examined in relation to these dimensions: can they be measured reliably; are they related to recidivism; and are lesser forms of each dimension meaningful and problematic or is it only the extreme end of the dimensions? Finally, treatment implications of different profiles over the four dimensions are discussed.  


David Thornton, Ph.D. has developed and managed treatment services for sexual offenders both in the United Kingdom and in the United States. He is currently a psychologist in private practice in the USA and also works part time for the University of Bergen in Norway. As a researcher he has been involved with the development of actuarial risk assessment instruments and the identification of psychological risk factors.