Archives of Sexual Behavior

, Volume 41, Issue 6, pp 1379–1387 | Cite as

Sexual Assaulters in the United States: Prevalence and Psychiatric Correlates in a National Sample

  • Nicolas Hoertel
  • Yann Le Strat
  • Jean-Pierre Schuster
  • Frédéric Limosin
Original Paper


This study presents sociodemographic characteristics and psychiatric correlates of a representative sample of sexual assaulters in the United States. Data were drawn from a nationally representative survey, the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions. Face-to-face interviews of more than 43,000 adults were conducted between the 2001–2002 period, based on the Alcohol Use Disorder and Associated Disabilities Interview Schedule-DSM-IV Version. The prevalence of committing sexual assault in the U.S. was 0.15 %. Sexual assaulters had significantly lower education than their counterparts. Sexual assaulters were significantly more likely to report a wide range of antisocial behaviors. Multivariate logistic regression analyses indicated strong associations between sexual assault and lifetime psychiatric disorders often associated with impaired impulse control, such as antisocial personality disorder, conduct disorder, and cocaine use disorder. In addition, psychotic disorders were consistently associated with sexual assault. Our findings indicate that sexual assault could represent a behavioral manifestation of a broader spectrum, including impairment of impulse control and psychotic disorders.


Sexual assaulters National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions Antisocial personality disorder Psychotic disorders 



We thank the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism for making their dataset publicly available.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nicolas Hoertel
    • 1
    • 2
  • Yann Le Strat
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  • Jean-Pierre Schuster
    • 1
    • 2
  • Frédéric Limosin
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Service de Psychiatrie, Hôpital Corentin-CeltonAssistance Publique-Hôpitaux de Paris (AP-HP)Issy-les-MoulineauxFrance
  2. 2.Université Paris Descartes, Sorbonne Paris CitéParisFrance
  3. 3.Centre de Psychiatrie et Neurosciences, Inserm, U894Université Paris Descartes, Sorbonne Paris CitéParisFrance
  4. 4.Service de Psychiatrie, Hôpital Louis MourierAssistance Publique-Hôpitaux de Paris (AP-HP)ColombesFrance
  5. 5.Université Paris Diderot, Sorbonne Paris CitéParisFrance

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