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Clinical Relevance of the Proposed Sexual Addiction Diagnostic Criteria: Relation to the Sexual Addiction Screening Test-Revised

Carnes, Patrick J. PhD; Hopkins, Tiffany A. MA; Green, Bradley A. PhD

doi: 10.1097/ADM.0000000000000080
Original Research

The present article examines and compares the various diagnostic rubrics proposed to codify symptoms of sexual addiction, and then briefly summarizes the ongoing controversy on whether sexual addiction is a valid construct. Using the diagnostic criteria proposed by Carnes (2005), the prevalence rate of each criterion is examined in terms of scores on the Sexual Addiction Screening Test-Revised scales (Carnes et al., 2010). Differences in diagnostic criteria endorsement associated with sex, sexual orientation, and setting were also explored. Results from a clinical sample of men and women seeking treatment for sexual addiction demonstrated clinical relevance of the criteria, in that all but 3 criteria are endorsed at more than 50% of participants screening positive for sexual addiction on the Sexual Addiction Screening Test-Revised. Sex differences were also noted for endorsement rates of several of the criteria. Finally, several proposed criteria may pose a higher clinical threshold and thus be utilized by clinicians to identify patients with increased pathology. Results are discussed in the context of existing diagnostic frameworks across etiological perspectives.

From the American Foundation for Addiction Research (PJC), Carefree, AZ; University of Southern Mississippi (TAH), Hattiesburg, MS; and Pine Grove Behavioral Health and Addiction Services (BAG), Hattiesburg, MS.

Send correspondence and reprint requests to Patrick J. Carnes, PhD, International Institute for Trauma and Addiction Professionals, Carefree, AZ 85377. E-mail:

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Received March 13, 2014

Accepted August 02, 2014

© 2014 American Society of Addiction Medicine