Emotional Intelligence and Psychopathic Personality Traits: Examination of Adult Male Sex Offenders in New Jersey
Sexual assault and abuse have a significant impact on victims and society. Although there has been a plethora of research studies examining the criminogenic aspects of sexual offending, sparse literature exists on the emotional aspects of sexual offending. Prior research established that sex offenders hold deficits in their emotional functioning that could be a result of psychopathic personality traits. This research study sought to expand the literature on sex offenders and investigate if adult male sex offenders in New Jersey differ in emotional intelligence and psychopathic personality traits depending on victim typology. This study was grounded in coercion and integrated theories to explore if there are differences between the emotional intelligence and psychopathic personality traits of adult male sex offenders in New Jersey who have adult victims and child victims. The research questions asked if adult male sex offenders in New Jersey with adult victims differ in emotional intelligence and psychopathic personality traits than adult male sex offenders with child victims. Data were collected from a sample of 80 adult sex offenders located in New Jersey who were administered the Bar-On EQ-I and PPI-R. Results were analyzed using a multivariate analysis of variance. The findings of the study showed that when compared to convicted sex offenders with adult victims, convicted sex offenders with child victims had higher total and subscale scores on the EQ-I and lower scores on the three dimensions of the PPI-R. The implications for positive social change include helping to tailor treatment programs to reduce the risk of recidivism based off the identified offender emotional intelligence and psychopathic personality differences.