Psychology, Department of


Date of this Version



Published in Criminal Justice and Behavior, Vol. 24 No. 3, September 1997, pp. 315–331. Copyright © 1997 American Association for Correctional Psychology. Published by Sage Publications. Used by permission.


Intimacy deficits and loneliness recently have been theorized as influential factors in the etiology and maintenance of sexually offending behaviors, although to date there has been a lack of empirical research conducted to address this proposition. The present study examined intimacy defi cits, fear of intimacy, and loneliness among intrafamilial child molesters, rapists, nonsexually offending inmates, and a community sample of adult males. The child molesters and rapists reported greater overall intimacy deficits than did the nonsexually offending inmates and community controls, with rapists reporting the greatest intimacy deficits. Fear of intimacy was found to be a particularly salient characteristic of die child molesters. The child molesters and rapists reported experiencing more overall loneliness and emotional loneliness. It is suggested that intimacy deficits, fear of intimacy, and loneliness should be addressed in comprehensive theories of sexual offending and incorporated into assessment and treatment approaches.