A novel approach to examining personality risk factors of sexual offending in clergy applicants.

Anthony Isacco, Paul B. Ingram, Katie Finn, John D. Dimoff, Brendan Gebler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


The clergy sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic Church has led to several strategies aimed at preventing future offenses from occurring. The screening of applicants to clergy training programs has become more rigorous and includes a psychological evaluation. The purpose of this article is to examine personality-based risk factors associated with sexual offending in clergy applicants. This study involved evaluation data of the Sixteen Personality Factor Questionnaire (16PF) and Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory-2-Restructured Form (MMPI-2-RF) from 137 male participants who applied to enter a training program for priests or deacons from a mid-Atlantic city in the United States from 2013 to 2019. Analyses included correlations among 16PF global and primary factors with MMPI-2-RF scales. Results indicated significant and clinically meaningful associations in our hypotheses focused on emotional deficits and impulsivity. Combining normative and psychopathological measures in psychological evaluations can be helpful by assessing deficits of normative characteristics and known risk factors in clergy applicants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)246-261
Number of pages16
JournalSpirituality in Clinical Practice
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2020


  • 16PF
  • Catholic
  • MMPI-2-RF
  • clergy applicants


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