Cognitive distortions in child molesters: A re-examination of key theories and research

Gannon, Theresa A. and Polaschek, Devon L.L. (2006) Cognitive distortions in child molesters: A re-examination of key theories and research. Clinical Psychology Review, 26 (8). pp. 1000-1019. ISSN 0272-7358. (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)

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This review examines theory, research, and clinical practice relating to child molesters' cognitive distortions. First we review development of cognitive distortion theory and examine its epistemological usefulness. Then we critically evaluate available research evidence for current conceptualizations of cognitive distortions. This evaluation of the latest research suggests that clinical practice with child molesters has run ahead of scientific knowledge. We conclude that there is confusion about the exact nature of cognitive distortions, about the role that they play in sexual offending, and about what constitutes evidence of their existence. Although it seems likely that distorted cognition plays a role in some child molesters' offenses, our concern is that from a scientific standpoint, the majority of the research conducted cannot be used either to support or refute this view. We suggest that future research in this area should concentrate upon developing new methods and adapting methods established in other domains to enable measurement of child molesters' cognitive distortions in a more sophisticated way. Use of more diverse designs that better operationalize the construct of distorted cognition will ensure that future research (a) appreciably advances our knowledge of the scientific status of cognitive distortions in child molesters, and (b) promotes more effective empirically driven clinical practice with child molesters.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled keywords: cognitive dissonance; cognitive restructuring; information processes; pedophilia; schema; social cognition
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Psychology
Depositing User: Theresa Gannon
Date Deposited: 04 Sep 2008 13:20
Last Modified: 18 Nov 2014 17:05
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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