Personal Sentence Completion Inventory

Personal Sentence Completion Inventory

L. C. MICCIO-FONSECA,Clinic for the Sexualities

Professionals in research, educational, or clinical settings requiring information regarding a person’s erotic development have limited resources, although their needs are various and extensive. The Personal Sentence Completion Inventory (PSCI; Miccio-Fonseca, 1997) is a versatile tool to be used in assessment, evaluation, and treatment of a variety of sexually related issues, particularly male and female sexually abusive individuals of all ages (including those who have been arrested and/or convicted of sex offenses). The PSCI can be used in group sessions (10–12 week segments) on such topics as erotic development, sexual health, sexual fantasies, and sexual behaviors (for all ages and both genders).


The PSCI was based on a subject sample (= 656) of males and females of all ages (7–75 years), who were (a) victims of sexual abuse, (b) sex offenders (who were not victims), (c) sex offenders who were also victims, and (d) individuals who were neither victims nor offenders. The subject sample was composed primarily of individuals who had received psychological evaluations and had undergone individual or group therapy or both (Miccio-Fon- seca, 1996, 2000, 2001). A pilot study was completed on 185 people, ages 12–57; items were rewritten for clarification and a revised 50-item sentence-stem version of the PSCI was formulated and readministered to another 155 individuals (males and females; ages 7–61 years).

The PSCI is a paper-and-pencil inventory covering variables known to be directly related to risk and/or recidivism of sexually abusive adults and adolescents. The PSCI covers love relationships and intimacy deficits, uncovers deviant sexual fantasies, explores erotic pleasures, and gives information on unconventional sexual history and other data related to sex disorder (i.e., paraphilias). The PSCI assesses variables related to family lovemaps (Miccio- Fonseca, 2006, 2007), including the quality of family relationships and early separation from natal parents prior to the age of 16, and can also provide information on inklings of dissociative features and/or paraphilic fugue states.

The PSCI is an instructive, informative supplement to other tools, assisting the clinician in completing a comprehensive assessment of the individual’s sexual background, sexual development, and sexual proclivities. The User’s Manual for the PSCI has examples of actual responses given by others and comments to the item responses, along with research related to the particular area explored and a glossary of terms.

The PSCI is empirically supported and used extensively in court-ordered psychological evaluations of sex offenders. Seasoned clinicians, aware of the literature in the field of sex offenders, will find the PSCI a valuable asset eliciting empirically based information related to risk and/or recidivism from the PSCI. By considering empirically supported variables distinctive to the individual, the PSCI contrasts sharply with popular actuarial tools that compare the individual’s score on a variable to groups of offenders within a particular score.

Response Mode and Timing

Respondents to the PSCI fill out the 50 sentence stems of the paper-and-pencil inventory. Depending on the individual, the entire form takes about 15 minutes to complete. The assessment’s sentence completion, open-ended format is transparent to respondents and provides a valuable means of eliciting content experience from an individual in the area being explored. The PSCI capitalizes on the benefits of the sentence completion format by making responses free-form and model-focused. However, the inventory does require sensitivity on the part of the person administering it, as some respondents ask for assistance in formulating their completions, and some need to be encouraged to respond at all.

The PSCI provides qualitative rather than quantitative data. The administration of the PSCI relies on the professional skills and sophistication of the examiner, particularly during the qualitative interview phase, when the examiner’s task is to draw out the subject and develop a rounded, in-depth picture of his or her sexual history. During the interview, the examiner has the opportunity to observe the subject’s social skills and style of communication in action. Clinical observations help determine the best ways to approach and uncover those areas of self- disclosure that the subject did not write down in the PSCI. There is no scoring scheme for the PSCI.

Other Information

The PSCI has been used extensively in assessing male and female adolescent and adult sex offenders. It can be used by mental health professionals providing treatment in individual, couples, and/or family therapy. The PSCI can also be used as a tool to structure discussions around sexuality in group therapy with all ages. In addition, teachers of hu- man sexuality who need a unique tool to facilitate delicate group discussions could use the PSCI.

Address correspondence to L. C. Miccio-Fonseca, Clinic Director, Clinic for the Sexualities, 591 Camino de la Reina, Suite 705, San Diego, CA 92108; e-mail: [email protected]

Personal Sentence Completion Inventory (Sample Items)

Sexual Dreams

19. My sex dreams are usually about

Erotic Pleasures

32. What turns me on sexually is

Sexual Discomforts

40. The thing I tried sexually once but wouldn’t do again is


Miccio-Fonseca, L. C. (1996). Research report: On sex offenders, vic- tims and their families. Journal of Offender Rehabilitation, 23(3/4), 71–83.

Miccio-Fonseca, L. C. (1997). Personal Sentence Completion Inventory: User’s guide. Brandon, VT: Safer Society Press.

Miccio-Fonseca, L. C. (2000). Adult and adolescent female sex offend- ers: Experiences compared to other females and male sex offenders. Journal of Psychology and Human Sexuality, 11, 75–88.

Miccio-Fonseca, L. C. (2001). Somatic and mental symptoms of male sex offenders: A comparison among offenders, victims, and their families. Journal of Psychology and Human Sexuality, 13, 103–114.

Miccio-Fonseca, L. C. (2006, Winter). Family lovemaps: Challenging the myths related to multiple paraphilias, denial, and paraphilic fugue states. ATSA Forum. Retrieved December 14, 2005, from: l.html

Miccio-Fonseca, L. C. (2007). Challenging the myths about sex disorders: Understanding the role of bio-physio process, family lovemaps, and paraphilic fugue states. In D. S. Prescott (Ed.), Knowledge and practice: Challenges in the treatment and supervision of sexual abusers (pp. 91–107). Oklahoma City, OK: Wood ‘N’ Barnes.