Prentky -Knight Child Molester Typology as represented in personality characteristics on the Personality Assessment Inventory

Edward Robert Kovach, Tennessee State University


Child sex offenders are a heterogeneous group, and this has impeded the efforts to classify them. Previous research efforts to classify child sex offenders with personality inventories have yielded variable results. The lack of an adequate typology to classify child sex offenders into valid subtypes may have contributed to the inconclusive personality research results. The use of a sex offender classification system that has reliable and valid research support, such as the Prentky-Knight Child Molester Typology, may help in clarifying psychological correlates to child sex offenders. An archival sample of 132 adult male incarcerated extrafamilial child sex offenders of varied types and 84 adult male incarcerated intrafamilial child sex offenders were compared on scales of the Personality Assessment Inventory. The Prentky-Knight Child Molester Typology is a complex model that classifies extrafamilial child sex offenders across two axes. Axis I is comprised of two dimensions: fixation and social competence. Fixation and social competence both have two levels: high and low. Axis II is comprised of two dimensions: amount of contact and amount of physical injury. The Personality Assessment Inventory PAI is gaining much interest as an established measure of personality and psychopathology. This study explored differences between the Prentky-Knight types as reflected on select Personality Assessment Inventory scales. Multivariate Analysis of Variance (MANOVA) was used to examine any differences between the Prentky-Knight typology sub-types as reflected on the Personality Assessment Inventory. Logistic regression analysis was used to determine which of the PAI scales best predicts the Prentky-Knight child molester typology subtypes. On the Fixation and Extrafamilial/Intrafamilial Types, the analyses were most supportive of significant differences on the PAI scales. The data was less supportive of significant differences for the High amount of Contact Types on the PAI scales. The significance of the obtained results are discussed with respect to supported hypotheses. Implications and future research are also discussed.

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Recommended Citation

Edward Robert Kovach, "Prentky -Knight Child Molester Typology as represented in personality characteristics on the Personality Assessment Inventory" (2002). ETD Collection for Tennessee State University. Paper AAI3100065.