Cognitive distortions in sex offenders: Should they all be treatment targets?

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Journal Article
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Marshall W
Marshall L
ware, jayson

In this paper we consider two sets of so-called “cognitive distortions”: those that have been shown to be unrelated to reoffending (i.e., noncriminogenic factors) and those that have been demonstrated to predict recidivism (i.e., criminogenic factors). While most sexual offender programs target the modification of all these distortions, we argue that treatment should only address the criminogenic attitudes and beliefs. Dissimulation characterizes human responses to personal bad behaviour where the person attempts to present themselves as not having behaved in a harmful way and sexual offenders are no exception. As it turns out excuse-making is healthful and results in a reduction in reoffending. It may, therefore, not only be counter to accepted principles of offender treatment to attempt to change noncriminogenic distortions, it may result in increased rates of reoffending. However, those distortions that are criminogenic must be targeted in treatment if we are to reduce reoffending.

Marshall W, Marshall L, Ware J (2009). Cognitive distortions in sex offenders: Should they all be treatment targets?. Sexual Abuse in Australia and New Zealand: An Interdisciplinary Journal. 2. 21-33.
Ngā upoko tukutuku/Māori subject headings
ANZSRC fields of research
1103 Clinical Sciences
1602 Criminology
Fields of Research::44 - Human society::4402 - Criminology::440202 - Correctional theory, offender treatment and rehabilitation
Fields of Research::52 - Psychology::5203 - Clinical and health psychology::520302 - Clinical psychology
Fields of Research::52 - Psychology::5201 - Applied and developmental psychology::520103 - Forensic psychology
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