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- PublicationA robust method for the evaluation of prison based sex offender treatment programmesThis paper outlines the approach to evaluating the sex offender treatment programme currently running in the Irish prison system. It begins with an introduction to the scope of the problem of sexual offending as reflected by the extent of the prison population in Ireland who have been convicted of a variety of sexual offences. It then outlines two key points that can be gleaned from several decades of general research on evaluating the effectiveness of psychological treatments while indicating how they have been included in our present research. We also describe the variety of data sources that need to be incorporated into an effective evaluation of prison based sex offender treatment programmes. We conclude with an introduction to some preliminary findings from our on-going research. These finding high-light the return in terms of more reliable information when care is taken in developing a robust method for the evaluation of prison-based sex offender treatment programmes.
- PublicationChild sexual abuse in Ireland: A synthesis of two studies
- PublicationA group based intervention for adolescents to improve motivation to change sexually abusive behaviourThis article describes a group based intervention for adolescents designed to improve motivation to change sexually abusive behaviour. The intervention is based upon the Prochaska and DiClemente (1983, 1986) stages of change model and Morrison’s (1998) seven steps in contemplating change model. We have combined these two models to produce “11 Steps of Motivation and Action in Changing Sexually Abusive Behaviour”. These 11 steps form the foundation of this intervention. We describe how we use the 11 steps, with accompanying vignettes describing juvenile sexual abusers at various points along the continuum of change, and question cards, to promote change. Examples of the vignettes are also provided along with a discussion of how they can be used to motivate change, develop healthy group norms in treatment, and set individual goals for clients. Finally we highlight the possibility of future applications of this intervention with male adult abusers, adolescent and adult female abusers, parents groups, significant other groups, individual clients, and children with sexually aggressive behaviour.
292Scopus© Citations 6
- PublicationA controlled evaluation of a prison based sexual offender intervention programmeThe effectiveness of a prison-based cognitive behavioral program designed to modify psychological risk factors associated with sexual offending was evaluated. The Irish Prison Service Sexual Offender Intervention Programme, is a manualized 10-month Cognitive Behaviour Therapy [CBT] program involving three 2-hour group sessions per week, which are facilitated by a team of clinical psychologists and probation officers. Improvements in 38 consecutive referrals to the program were compared with the status of 38 untreated offenders who were similar in marital status, age when they left school, occupational status prior to imprisonment, offence type, presence of previous convictions, and current sentence length. All research participants completed the same assessment protocol, which evaluated psychological factors associated with sexual offending at times equivalent to pre- and postintervention. Compared with the untreated control group, program participants showed statistically significant improvement on some but not all self-report measures of cognitive distortions, empathy, interpersonal skills, self-regulation, and relapse prevention. Motivation to change among the untreated control group was not associated with change in psychological functioning in the absence of the assistance of the treatment program. Implications for sexual offender intervention delivery are considered.
1211Scopus© Citations 21
- PublicationPsychological profiles of sexually abusive adolescents in IrelandObjective. This study aimed to profile the psychological and psychosocial characteristics of a group of Irish adolescents who had sexually abused other youngsters. Method. Levels of behaviour problems, personal adjustment, anger management and psychosocial adjustment were compared in 27 Irish adolescents with a history of sexual abusing another youngster (SA group); 20 clinical controls who had significant behavioural problems but no history of sexual offending (CC group); and 29 normal controls who were without significant psychological problems (NC group). Measures used included the Child Behaviour Checklist (CBCL); the Youth Self Report Form (YSR); selected scales from Beckett (1997) Adolescent Sex Offender Assessment Pack (ASOAP); and the Family Environment Scale (FES). Results. Compared with the CC group the SA group displayed fewer problems overall on the CBCL and the YSR. The SA group showed problems with self-esteem, emotional loneliness, and perspective taking similar to those of the CC group, but their impulsivity scores were similar to those of the NC group. The locus of control scores of the SA group fell between those of the CC and NC groups. The SA group showed an anger management profile which fell at an intermediate position between those of the NC and CC groups. The SA group showed problematic family functioning in the areas of expressiveness, behaviour control and social support similar to those of the CC group. Their difficulties with family cohesion were less severe than those of the CC group but worse than those of the NC group. Conclusions. Overall the psychological adjustment of adolescents with a history of sexual abusing others was more problematic that of normal controls but less problematic than that of youngsters who had significant behavioural problems but no history of sexual offending.
845Scopus© Citations 16
- PublicationFactor structures of measures of cognitive distortions, emotional congruence, and victim empathy based on data from Irish child sex offendersThis study evaluated the factor structures of three instruments from the Sexual Offender Assessment Pack. The Children and Sex Cognitive Distortions Scale, the Children and Sex Emotional Congruence Scale, and the Child Victim Empathy Distortions Scale were administered to 203 sex offenders in Ireland. Confirmatory factor analyses did not support the proposed single factor structure for each of the three scales. Exploratory factor analyses suggested more complex factor structures. The Children and Sex Cognitive Distortions Scale was found to have two factors: (a) Perceptions of Children as Sexually Mature and (b) General Justifications for Sex With Children. The Children and Sex Emotional Congruence Scale was found to have three factors: (a) Positive Affect From Children, (b) Special Relationships With Children and (c) Preference for Relationships With Children. The Victim Empathy Scale was found to have two factors: (a) Positive Misattributions of Pleasure and (b) Denial of Negative Feelings in the Child. In clinical settings, the more complex factor structures identified in this study may used in scoring and interpreting responses to the three instruments investigated here. Our results require replication and further research should focus on the correlates of the factorial scales identified in this study.
922Scopus© Citations 9
- PublicationAttachment styles and psychological profiles of child sex offenders in IrelandWhen 29 child sex offenders, 30 violent offenders, 30 nonviolent offenders, and 30 community controls were compared, a secure adult attachment style was 4 times less common in the child sex offender group than in any of the other three groups. Ninety-three percent of sex offenders had an insecure adult attachment style. Compared with community controls, the child sex offender group reported significantly lower levels of maternal and paternal care and significantly higher levels of maternal and paternal overprotection during their childhood. Compared with all three comparison groups, the child sexual offenders reported significantly more emotional loneliness and a more external locus of control. With respect to anger management, the child sexual offenders’ profile more closely approximated those of nonviolent offenders and community controls than that of violent offenders.
2501Scopus© Citations 81