Research Studies

Research Studies

Faculty of the CPSPD are engaged in forensic and general community psychiatry/psychological research. Projects have been supported by federal, state, and private grants. Research partners include/have included other divisions within the MUSC Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, other South Carolina state agencies, the University of South Carolina, Sam Houston State University, University of Tennessee, Rutgers University, Adelphi University, Augusta University, Federal Bureau of Prisons, and the Royal Ottawa Mental Health Center. Current and recent projects include:

Mental Health Comorbidities Among Individuals Charged With Sexual Offenses

Studies are underway assessing sexual offending to include examining psychiatric and behavioral comorbidities with paraphilic disorder diagnoses. Additionally, a study assessing the intrusiveness of sex offenses and the presence or absence of injuries sustained based on the nature of the relationship between the victim and the perpetrator is also being conducted.

Physiological Assessment of Sexual Arousal

Another area of research within the CPSPD is improving the assessment of physiological sexual arousal using penile plethysmography (PPG) and photovaginal plethysmography (VPP). These studies strive to standardize the interpretation of these measures and to test the validity of various stimuli sets for use with these measures.

An Examination of Bases for Orders of Competency to Stand trial Evaluations

This ongoing project is aimed at examining why defendants are generally referred for competency to stand trial evaluations. It is our hope the results of this project will help referring entities (e.g., defense attorneys) refine their referral questions, which will ultimately aid forensic evaluators in conducting a nuanced examination of the defendant's psycholegal abilities. 

Sexually Violent Predators and Comorbid Substance Use

This study was conducted to add to the evidence base on the role of illicit drug and alcohol use with regards to person committed under a state Sexually Violent Predator (SVP) Act. Using data collected from the South Carolina (SC) SVP Act Multidisciplinary Team (MDT) Database maintained by the MUSC CPSPD, information regarding substance use, mental health diagnoses, criminal justice, and sex offense data was analyzed for those person recommended for MDT review.

Public Safety Officer Personality Characteristics and Associated Job Outcomes

This project is also ongoing and aims to examine potential relationships between personality characteristics of public safety officers and engagement in problems on the job (e.g., use of excessive force). Public safety officers' personality characteristics are assessed using broadband measures of personality functioning (e.g., the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory-2-Restructed Form) and additional measures of pathological personality traits (e.g., the Personality Inventory for DSM-5).