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Law Hum Behav. 2014 Dec;38(6):544-59. doi: 10.1037/lhb0000086. Epub 2014 Jun 16.

A psychometric examination of treatment change in a multisite sample of treated Canadian federal sexual offenders.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, University of Saskatchewan.
  • 2Royal Ottawa Health Care Group.
  • 3Institute of Mental Health, University of Nottingham.

Abstract

In the present study, we examined the degree of change and predictive accuracy of a number of well-known psychological self-report measures intended to identify treatment targets for sexual offenders. Participants included 392 federally incarcerated sexual offenders who participated in low, moderate, or high intensity sexual offender programs offered within penitentiaries under the jurisdiction of the Correctional Service of Canada. These men were followed in the community for an average of 5.42 years postrelease. Very small to moderate pretreatment and posttreatment changes were found on measures of cognitive distortions, aggression/hostility, empathy, loneliness, social intimacy, and sex offender acceptance of responsibility. However, pretreatment and posttreatment scores on these measures frequently demonstrated weak and inconsistent relationships to sexual, violent, and general recidivism. In addition, within-treatment change on these measures bore little relationship to outcome. However, when statistically corrected for pretreatment score the relationship of treatment change to outcome frequently improved, particularly on measures of physical aggression and anger, even after controlling for Static-99R score. Clinical and research implications are discussed regarding the assessment and evaluation of change on psychological risk factors in treated sexual offenders.

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