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Automatic Associations with “Erotic” in Child Sexual Offenders: Identifying Those in Danger of Reoffence

Author(s): Melanie Caroline Steffens | Elena Yundina | Markus Panning

Journal: Sexual Offender Treatment
ISSN 1862-2941

Volume: 3;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 3;
Date: 2008;
Original page

Keywords: Implicit Association Test | Implicit Cognition | Sexual Offenders | Pedophile Offenders | Recidivism

If sexual offence (rape or sexual abuse) has aspects of automatic rather than controlled behavior in the sense of being triggered by situational cues, it might be predicted better by reaction-time measures of automatic cognition rather than by questionnaires. Two Implicit Association Tests (IATs) were used to test whether male pedophile and sadistic offenders (N = 46) differ from each other and from a male control group (N = 47) with regard to their automatic associations of erotic. The first IAT tested associations of erotic with child versus woman, the second IAT tested associations of erotic with harmony versus humiliation. Supplementary scales concern social desirability, locus of control, behaviour control, and evaluation of aims. First, no evidence for the validity of the humiliation-erotic IAT could be found. Second, offenders who were rated to be in danger of relapse by their therapists, and those rated to be exclusively pedophile, showed an increased child-erotic association as compared to the other groups.
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