Sexual offending and antisocial personality: exploring the link

Paul Greenall (Centre for Investigative Psychology, University of Liverpool)

The British Journal of Forensic Practice

ISSN: 1463-6646

Publication date: 1 September 2007


This paper explores the link between sexual offending and antisocial personality. Drawing on previous research, it illustrates that sex offenders with an antisocial personality are a heterogeneous group, differentiated by several factors. They victimise children, adults or both, those who victimise adults or adults and children are more psychopathic. They are motivated primarily by non‐sexual factors like opportunistic impulsivity or generalised anger, and violence is a source of erotic pleasure in some cases. A small group of men, however, are driven to offend by sadistic sexual fantasies of a serious nature, which develop over time and later form the basis of their violent predatory assaults. Varying definitions of antisocial personality confuse the research, and diagnostic co‐morbidity means that pure psychopathic types are probably rare.



Greenall, P. (2007), "Sexual offending and antisocial personality: exploring the link", The British Journal of Forensic Practice, Vol. 9 No. 3, pp. 24-30.

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Copyright © 2007, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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