Characteristics of Child Molesters: Implications for the Fixated-Regressed Dichotomy

Leonore M.J. Simon, Bruce Sales, Alfred Kaszniak, Marvin Kahn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


This study attempted to empirically validate the fixated-regressed typology used in the child sexual abuse literature. The sample consisted of 136 consecutive cases of convicted child molesters tried in Pima County, Arizona, over a 2-year period (1984-1985) for whom case history, MMPI, presentence reports, and police report data were collected prior to sentencing. Application of the criteria defining fixated versus regressed status yielded a unimodal and continuous distribution of child molesters rather than the bimodal distribution predicted by theory. In a multiple regression analysis, two independent variables (i.e., whether the victim and offender were related and an offender's prior non-sex-criminal record) significantly predicted an offender's degree of regression, and a third independent variable (i.e., offender age) approached significance. Alternative conceptualizations to the fixated-regressed typology are described, and implications for understanding child molesters are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)211-225
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of interpersonal violence
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1992

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Applied Psychology


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