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Title: An investigation into cognitive bias towards visual sexual stimuli in child sexual offenders with intellectual disabilities
Author: Watson, Neil Mark.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3564 3207
Awarding Body: University of East Anglia
Current Institution: University of East Anglia
Date of Award: 2006
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Background. Cognitive distortions (CD) are an important factor in many theories of sexual offending with non-intellectually disabled sex offenders (non-IDSOs). However, attempts to replicate the research with IDSOs have been fraught with difficulties due to bias. This study examined participants with intellectual disabilities (IDs) ability to complete a new measure of bias for sexual images (the `dot-probe detection task') and cognitive bias towards visual sexual images in intellectually disabled child sexual offenders (IDCSOs). Method. 56 male participants were recruited to the study and allocated to one of three groups: IDCSOs (N = 17), ID non-offenders (IDNOs: N= 18) and non-ID nonoffenders (NIDNOs: N= 21). All participants completed a computer based measure of cognitive bias for sexual images (the `dot-probe detection task') and questionnaires on demographics, offences and sex offender treatment. Participants with no formal IQ assessment also completed a brief measure of IQ. Groups were appropriately equivalent in age, IQ, employment status and religious orientation. Results. Some participants with IDs were unable to complete the computer based task (N = 6). There was no significant difference between groups on accuracy of responding or ability to complete the computer based task. Positive bias scores were found for the IDCSOs and the IDNOs, but not for the NIDNOs. IDCSOs were the only group to have a mean positive attentional bias when images of children were examined separately from adult images. No significant difference was found between the groups in terms of cognitive bias. Discussion. The results provide support for the use of the `dot-probe detection task measure' with individuals with ID, but do not provide evidence supporting cognitive bias for sexual images in IDCSOs. The study was likely to be underpowered. The results and methodological issues are discussed in the context of theories of information processing, CDs, and the assessment and treatment of IDCSOs
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available