Do child molesters deliberately fake good on cognitive distortion questionnaires? An information processing-based investigation

Gannon, Theresa A. and Polaschek, Devon L.L. (2005) Do child molesters deliberately fake good on cognitive distortion questionnaires? An information processing-based investigation. Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment, 17 (2). pp. 183-200. ISSN 1573-286X. (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided)

The full text of this publication is not available from this repository. (Contact us about this Publication)
Official URL


Researchers and clinicians hypothesize that child molesters hold offence- supportive beliefs or cognitive distortions that require restructuring for successful rehabilitation. However, there is little empirical evidence to support this hypothesis. Current questionnaire measures of both untreated and treated child molesters' cognitive distortions show that these men typically disagree with cognitive distortions. Such findings, especially prior to treatment, are often interpreted to mean that child molesters are faking good. In this study we drew on personality-related research showing that when participants intentionally respond in a socially desirable way on questionnaires, they make faster item responses than when answering honestly. Untreated child molesters, treated child molesters, and two types of controls (nonsexual offenders and nonoffenders) were administered a computerized cognitive distortion questionnaire and their responses and response times were recorded. Consistent with previous research, all groups tended to disagree with the cognitive distortions. However, response time data were surprising; only the treated child molesters displayed the fake-good pattern of responding significantly faster in rejecting cognitive distortions. We speculate about the implications of these results for the cognitive distortion hypothesis, and for understanding how current treatment programs effect cognitive distortion change.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled keywords: cognitive distortion; child molester; faking good; response times; treatment
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Psychology
Depositing User: Theresa Gannon
Date Deposited: 04 Sep 2008 13:58
Last Modified: 18 Nov 2014 17:09
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
  • Depositors only (login required):