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Title: Using the Implicit Association Test to assess attachment, self-esteem, and implicit theories among sexual offenders
Author: Pepper, Rebecca
Awarding Body: Cardiff University
Current Institution: Cardiff University
Date of Award: 2013
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According to the principles of evidence-based practice, offender treatment and rehabilitation programmes should target risk factors that are empirically related to offending behaviour. Research shows, however, that several theoretical risk factors for sexual offending fail to demonstrate consistent links with historical offending and/or rates of sexual recidivism. Chapter 1 discusses how the limitations of self-report assessment may contribute to this inconsistency and how alternative indirect assessment tools may help circumvent some of these issues by assessing more automated forms of cognition and being more resistant to impression management. Chapter 2 describes the methodology of the current investigation that was designed to examine whether use of the Implicit Association Test (IAT) would provide greater empirical support for three psychosocial risk factors for sexual offending. Specifically, self-report and IAT measures of attachment, self-esteem, and child-sex implicit theories (ITs) were compared in their ability to predict offender status and/or scores on measures of estimated general and sexual recidivism risk. Chapters 3-5 describe the equivocal evidence surrounding the role of self-reported attachment, self-esteem, and child-sex ITs in sexual offending and how the IAT paradigm was adapted to assess each of these areas of psychosocial functioning. Across each chapter, the current findings replicated previous evidence demonstrating a lack of predictive validity for self-report measures in these domains. Furthermore, the results indicated that use of the current IAT measures did not improve prediction of group membership or estimated risk of recidivism. Chapter 6 describes how such findings suggest that the previous empirical inconsistency regarding these risk factors may not be entirely attributable to the limitations of relying on self-report assessment. With further replication and methodological refinement, the current findings could be taken as additional evidence against retaining these factors as criminogenic treatment needs within conventional sex offender treatment programmes.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: BF Psychology