The Sexual Interest Profiling System (SIPS)

The Sexual Interest Profiling System (SIPS) was originally called the Sexual Deviance Card Sort. It was developed in the late 1970s by D.R. Laws and his colleagues. In the original version the client was given a stack of 3 x 5 cards. On each card there was a brief description of a sexual act. Almost all descriptions were of a deviant nature. The client was required to sort these cards on a scale of attractiveness. The card sort was computerized in the mid-1980s and the following investigation was conducted with a group of child molesters.

The research was intended to examine the extent to which the use of multiple measures of pedophilic sexual interest improved on the diagnostic accuracy of any single measure. Seventy-two child molesters completed the computerized card sort measure. They also underwent a penile plethysmograph (PPG) examination using erotic slides and audio descriptions of sexual conduct. The reliability of all measures was high (alpha .91-.96). All three measures of pedophilic interest (card sort, PPG slides, or PPG audio) significantly differentiated boy-object (n = 20) and girl-object child molesters (n = 52). The card sort measure showed the greatest classification accuracy and was the only measure to significantly improve accuracy, once the other two modalities were considered. Consideration of all three modalities provided classification accuracy (91.7%) greater than any single measure.

Follow this link to see the original report of this research (Laws, Hanson, Osborn & Greenbaum, 2000).

In the mid-2000s the scale was reprogrammed in a more elegant format and renamed the Sexual Interest Profiling System (SIPS). It is extremely easy to use, can be administered in about 30 minutes, and provides a clear and easy to interpret data display.


As the preceding description states, the SIPS was originally developed as a research instrument. In this commercial application we have retained the original text. Many of the vignettes contain graphic descriptions of sexual behavior and very coarse language. Some viewers may be offended.


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D. Richard Laws, Ph.D.

David V. Glasgow, M. Clin. Psych.
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