A Psychological and Developmental Profile of Sexual Murderers: A Systematic Review
Jonathan James, Jean Proulx
Aggression and Violent Behavior
14 August 2014
The goal of this current systematic review is to identify the main characteristics of sexual murderers and the areas in which further research is warranted. It analyzes detailed data on 1836 sexual murderers (serial sexual murderers = 176; nonserial sexual murderers = 1660) taken from 45 empirical descriptive studies carried out between 1985 and 2013. In order to better characterize serial sexual murderers (SSMs) and nonserial sexual murderers (NSMs), three categories of variables were established: developmental variables; adult life and criminal career variables; psychopathological variables. Caracteristics of different types of sexual murderers were identified. Sexuality and sadism are the key features of SSMs. They are socially isolated, rejected, and humiliated, take refuge in compulsive masturbation and in paraphilias, which compensate for the poverty of their emotional, relational, and sexual lives. NSMs are polymorphic criminals who are easily angered when their immediate needs are not met. They adopt a victim stance, and sexual murder is a way of exacting vengeance and an outlet for their anger.