Journal of Traumatic Stress

, Volume 5, Issue 3, pp 393–420 | Cite as

Prior life trauma, post-traumatic stress symptoms, sexual disorders, and character traits in sex offenders: An exploratory study

  • George W. Barnard
  • Gary C. Hankins
  • Lynn Robbins
Article

Abstract

Fifty-two residents in a forensic treatment center for convicted sex offenders were studied using a computer-assisted assessment methodology regarding prior exposure to seven categories of major trauma, the subsequent occurrence of 15 PTSD criterion symptoms, the occurrence of sexual disorders and pathological character traits based on the DSM-III-R Axis II diagnostic criteria. This sample represented 43% of all individuals in such treatment in Florida during the study month. The results in terms of trauma exposure, PTS symptom, sexual disorders, and character traits are reported and discussed in relation to the relevant literature. A theoretical formulation based on object relations theory suggesting a causal link between trauma, narcissistic character pathology, adult PTSD, and sexual deviancy for some sex offenders is presented and related to the findings. The methodological limitations of the research and its implications for future research are explored.

Key words

PTSD trauma object relations theory pathological narcissism sexual disorders sex offenders paraphilias 

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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • George W. Barnard
    • 1
  • Gary C. Hankins
    • 2
  • Lynn Robbins
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of FloridaGainesville
  2. 2.Gainesville

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