Date of Award

Fall 12-29-2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Forensic Psychology



First Advisor or Mentor

Elizabeth Jeglic

Second Reader

Rebecca Weiss

Third Advisor

Cynthia Calkins


This study examined the potential association between perpetrator substance use, anger, and aggressive behavior in the commission of sexual crimes. The sample included 246 adult males convicted of rape (n = 54) or child molestation (n = 192). Descriptive statistics revealed that 64.6% of the individuals in this sample (n = 159) were intoxicated at the time of the offense. Results showed that perpetrators who used substances at the time of the offense were more likely to exhibit aggressive behavior toward the victim (e.g., weapon use, verbal abuse) than those who did not. Offenders with higher pervasive anger scores were also more likely to exhibit aggressive behavior toward the victim. Further, individuals convicted of rape were more likely to receive higher pervasive anger scores, use substances at the time of the offense, and exhibit aggressive behavior compared to individuals convicted of child molestation. The findings indicate that substance use and anger should be addressed in treatment programs for individuals convicted of sexual crimes. Limitations and future research directions are discussed.



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