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Journal Article


McCraw RK, Pegg-McNab J. J. Pers. Assess. 1989; 53(3): 546-553.


(Copyright © 1989, Society for Personality Assessment, Publisher Informa - Taylor and Francis Group)






VioLit summary:

The purpose of this experimental study by McCraw and Pegg-McNab to explore the question: "do juveniles who engage in sex-related crimes differ in their psychological make-up from juveniles who engage in crimes of nonsexual nature?"

The sex offender group was comprised of 45 male adolescents between the ages of 11 years, 6 months and 17 years 11 months. All had committed sexual offenses and each sex offender was paired with a nonsex offender with matching for sex, race, age (within 12 months) and IQ (within 10 points). Both sex and nonsex offender groups were composed of 51% Blacks and 49% Whites. Mean age was 15.4 years; the mean IQ was 88.4.
The test procedure consisted of analysizing the results of a Rorschach Test that had been administered to each subject as part of an overall evaluation conducted to determine treatment recommendations.

The authors noted that though intuitively one might have anticipated juvenile sex offenders to differ from nonsex offenders in a number of personality characteristics, this had not been supported by previous available research. The authors own results in the present study found two statistically significant differences between the group of sexual and nonsexual offenders matched for age, sex, race, and IQ. The sex offender group as a whole averaged three more responses per protocol and gave significantly more anatomy responses than their matched controls.
Anatomy responses in the Rorschach had been interpreted by previous personality researchers as reflecting hyhpochondrical preoccupations, self-absorption, repressed hostility, and a concern with inner destructive impulses.
Considering only three statistically significant differences could be determined, the authors concluded that their study tended to support earlier conclusions that juvenile sex offenders were basically just delinquent youth and more similar to, than different from, adolescents who committed nonsex crimes.

The authors' recommended that additional studies comparing violent to nonviolent sexual offenders and same-sex to opposite-sex offenders would seem worthwhile, as would studies including female sex offenders. It was also deemed of interest to compare sex and nonsex offenders on barrier and and penetration content or on several of the newer areas of Exner's Rorschach Structural Summary (which had not been available at the time of the present study) such as Depression Index, Aggressive Content, Isolation Index, Morbid Content, and Personalized responses.

(CSPV Abstract - Copyright © 1992-2007 by the Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence, Institute of Behavioral Science, Regents of the University of Colorado)

Juvenile Violence
Comparative Analysis
Sexual Assault Offender
Offender Characteristics
Juvenile Offender
Male Offender
Male Violence
Juvenile Male
Child Male
Child Offender
Child Violence
Late Childhood
Late Adolescence
Early Adolescence
Sexual-Non Sexual Offender Comparison
Offender Characteristics
Offender Personality
Personality Characteristics


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