Assessing Risk in Women who have Sexually Offended: The Role of Psychopathy



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The aim of this thesis was to examine whether current risk assessment tools predicted recidivism in a group of women who sexually offended. To date, psychopathy is one of the best predictors for aggression and antisocial behavior. Past research has examined the utility of The Psychopathy Checklist – Revised (PCL-R) in justice-involved men, including men who sexually offended, and has exhibited solid support. However, results for justice-involved women were mixed. This study aims to fill the gap in research by examining the utility of the PCL-R in a sample of 242 women incarcerated, and subsequently released, in Texas for an index sexual offense. Logistic regressions were used to examine whether PCL-R scores could predict overall recidivism, general recidivism, or violent recidivism. Results indicated the PCL-R was a significant predictor for overall and general recidivism, but not violent. Additionally, age and total prior arrests were considered significant control variables when predicting recidivism. Only one woman in the sample sexually recidivated. The findings provide modest support for the utility of the PCL-R in the risk assessment of females who have sexually offended. Because there are no validated risk assessments for females who have sexually offended, current results will help guide assessment of this group of offenders.



Sociology; Criminology and Penology, Psychology, General