Psychotic Disorders and Sexual Offending

S. Amanda Alden, Emory University
Patricia Brennan, Emory University
Stacy Ryan, Emory University

The purpose of the current study is to explore the relationship between major mental illness and sexual offenses in a Danish birth cohort of males, and more specifically to gain a better understanding about the interactive role of psycholtic disorders, personality disorders, and substance abuse in the risk for sexual offending. Lifetime psychiatric hospitalization and arrest data were analyzed from a cohort of all males born in Denmark between 1944 and 1947 (N = 173,559). Results revealed that individuals hospitalized for psychotic disorders were more likely than never hospitalized individuals to be arrested for a sexual offense. Personality disorders interacted with psychotic disorders in the prediction of sexual arerest, such that psychotic disorders were more likely to be related to sexual offending in the presence of personality disorders. A similar pattern was noted for the interaction of substance abuse and psychotic disorders, although this relationship did not reach statistical significance. Exploratory analyses demonstrated that compared to sex offenders with nonpsychotic disorders, psychotic sex offenders were more likely to have a history of hospitalization and less likely to have a history of violence prior to their first arrest for a sex offense. Implications for theory and public policy are discussed.

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Updated 05/20/2006