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J Intellect Dev Disabil. 2006 Mar;31(1):13-9.

Quality of life and relationships in sex offenders with intellectual disability.

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The State Hospital, Carstairs and University of Abertay, Dundee, Scotland.



Hayes (1991) and Day (1994) have developed hypotheses about the importance of social and developmental variables in the aetiology of sexual offences in offenders with intellectual disability. The present study is the first of its kind to investigate the perceived quality of life and relationships of sex offenders in comparison to an appropriate control group.


A group of 28 sex offenders with intellectual disability (ID) were compared with 28 members of a control group of individuals with ID. All participants completed the Significant Others Scale (SOS) which assesses self-perceptions of potential and ideal support from significant others in the individual's life, and the Life Experience Checklist (LEC) which assesses experiences and opportunities across 5 living domains: home, leisure, freedom, relationships and opportunities.


There were no differences between the groups on age and IQ. On the SOS there were no differences between the groups on the number of times each significant other was reported. Actual and ideal levels of support from both mother and father were lower for sex offenders than the control group. On the LEC, sex offenders reported lower scores on the relationships and leisure sections.


Poorer relationships and little indication of any wish to change that state of affairs suggests lower levels of integration and identification with society for sex offenders compared with the control group.

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