Psychological Patterns Among Roman Catholic Clergy Accused of Sexual Misconduct

Abstract

A remarkable amount of international attention has focused on the sexual misconduct by Roman Catholic clergy in recent years. While the demographics and risk factor profiles of clergy sex offenders is now fairly well established, the psychological and personality profiles of these men are not. Very few empirical research studies have been published on the psychological and personality functioning of clergy who engage in sexual misconduct in the Catholic Church. The purpose of this study was to investigate the psychological profiles of 21 Roman Catholic clergy who have confronted credible accusations of sexual misconduct. Relative to national norms, MMPI-2 results suggest that these men tend to have profiles that were defensive, repressive, mistrustful, isolative, and irritable. Precautions and limitations of the current study, as well as implications for future research are offered.

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Correspondence to Thomas G. Plante.

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Plante, T.G., Aldridge, A. Psychological Patterns Among Roman Catholic Clergy Accused of Sexual Misconduct. Pastoral Psychol 54, 73–80 (2005). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11089-005-6184-8

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Keywords

  • priest
  • pedophile
  • catholic
  • sexual misconduct
  • ephebophile