The Generality of Criminal Behaviour: A Confirmatory Factor Analysis of the Criminal Activity of Sex Offenders in Adulthood

Patrick Lussier, Universite de Montreal
Marc LeBlanc, Universite de Montreal
Jean Proulx, Universite de Montreal

The presence of a general construct of deviance has not been investigated in sex offenders in spite of the presumption of specialisation that characterises them. Consequently, the aim of this study was to investigate whether sex offenders' criminal behaviour could be explained by a general construct of deviance. A semi-structured interview was conducted with each subject in order to assess deviant behaviour during the life-course. The official criminal behaviour of 388 convicted sex offenders was analysed using confirmatory factor analysis. The pattern of covariance observed showed that the onset, frequency and variety of criminal activity in adulthood could be explained by a general construct of deviance in sexual aggressors. However, the results also suggest that child molesters' frequency of sexual crime is not part of a general construct of deviance. In other words, the offending behaviour of sexual aggressors of women is predominantly versatile, whereas that of sexual aggressors of children tends to be more specific, at least for one dimension of their criminal activity.

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Updated 05/20/2006