Empirical identification of Axis I and Axis II symptom subtypes of sex addiction using Latent Profile Analysis
Sexual addiction is a disorder characterized by lack of control over sexual urges, pathological relationships and lack of intimacy, mood-altering experiences, and adverse consequences that tend to be disregarded by the person affected. Although not classified as a mental disorder in the Diagnostic Statistical Manual-IV-TR (DSM-IV-TR, APA, 2000) this distressful sexual manifestation is increasingly recognized as a clinical and public health problem. Previous studies suggest commonalities with addictive disorders and maladaptive personality traits. The purpose of the current study was to analyze personality configurations of individuals diagnosed as sex addicts and uncover specific subtypes or profiles associated to sexually addictive behaviors. The study used archival data from 222 individuals, mostly males, treated at a residential program for sex addiction. Latent Profile Analysis (LPA) was utilized to uncover latent classes by using scale scores from the Millon Clinical Multiaxial Inventory-III (MCMI-III) and the Personality Assessment Inventory (PAI). The statistical analyses identified four latent classes for Axis I and five classes for Axis II corresponding to homogeneous subgroups of participants, and determined class membership. Findings were followed up with multivariate and univariate analyses of variances and discriminant analysis to better understand qualitative and quantitative differences among groups. Results revealed significant relationships between class membership and symptoms of Axis I and Axis II disorders measured by other screening tests: the Sexual Addiction Screening Test-Revised (SAST- R), the Eating Disorder Inventory (EDI), Post Traumatic Stress Inventory (PTSI), and the Brief Symptom Inventory (BSI), as well as severity of sexually addictive behaviors, and specific types of behavioral manifestations of sexual addiction as measured by the Sexual Dependency Inventory (SDI-R). No relations were found with legal consequences of addictive behavior. Some implications for treatment of sexual addiction were also addressed.