Aggression and Social Anxiety Are Associated with Sexual Offending Against Children

Thijs Kanters*, Ruud H. J. Hornsveld, Kevin L. Nunes, Almar J. Zwets, Nicole M. L. Buck, Peter Muris, Hjalmar J. C. van Marle

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

291 Downloads (Pure)


The current study examined a number of risk factors that are thought to be related to sexual offending. More specifically, we investigated differences in self-reported aggression, anger, hostility, social anxiety, and social skills between child sexual abusers (n = 28), rapists (n = 36), and nonsexual violent offenders (n = 59) who were detained under hospital order. In addition, differences between inpatient (n = 28) and outpatient child sexual abusers (n = 61) on the pertinent constructs were evaluated. Consistent with our expectations, we found that child sexual abusers reported themselves as lower on the aggression-related measures and higher on social anxiety than nonsexual violent offenders. In contrast with our hypotheses, however, the results also indicated that the inpatient child sexual abusers reported lower levels of aggression, anger, hostility, and social anxiety than the outpatient child sexual abusers. The observed differences between child sexual abusers, rapists, and nonsexual violent offenders are generally consistent with theories about the etiology of sexual abuse. The differences between the inpatient and outpatient child sexual abusers were not in the expected direction, but may be due to a number of methodological limitations of this research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)265-273
JournalInternational Journal of Forensic Mental Health
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Sexual offenders
  • aggression
  • anger and hostility
  • social anxiety
  • social skills
  • self-report questionnaires

Cite this