Social-Emotional and Cognitive Risk Factors Connected With Recidivism in Sexual Offenders: An Explorative Study Cover Image

Social-Emotional and Cognitive Risk Factors Connected With Recidivism in Sexual Offenders: An Explorative Study
Social-Emotional and Cognitive Risk Factors Connected With Recidivism in Sexual Offenders: An Explorative Study

Author(s): Giulio D’urso, Simone Parretta, Uberta Ganucci Cancellieri, Irene Petruccelli
Subject(s): Social Sciences, Sociology, Applied Sociology, Criminology, Studies in violence and power, Substance abuse and addiction, Welfare services
Published by: Expert Projects Publishing
Keywords: relapse; sexual offenders; cognitive distortions; adverse experience; moral disengagements;

Summary/Abstract: The literature suggests that sex offenders are more at risk of relapse and how much treatment pathways are needed to prevent it. Furthermore, the picture of predisposing factors connected to relapse appears complex. Therefore, the aim of this work is to verify the framework of social-cognitive risk factors connected to relapse in sex offenders. Participants in the study are 128 male sex offenders. The age range of the participants goes from 21 to 75 years (M = 41.74; SD = 13.45). Participants were given self-report questionnaires to evaluate cognitive distortions towards children and towards the right to sexuality, the Hanson Sex Attitude Questionnaire; cognitive distortions towards women, the Vindictive Rape Attitude Questionnaire; the mechanisms of moral disengagement, the Moral Disengagement Scale; furthermore, based on the grid of De Leo and colleagues, any adverse conditions (abuse, mistreatment, poverty, substance abuse, institutionalization) during childhood and/or adolescence were identified. Recidivism, on the other hand, was examined by asking participants if they had been convicted several times of the same crime and verifying this information through their files. The results showed that institutionalization, abuse, cognitive distortions towards women, and the mechanism of attributing blame to the victim can be relevant risk factors associated with relapse. The picture that emerged could suggest how the occurrence in a context of institutionalization during childhood could evidently represent an adverse condition during individual development that acts as a predisposing factor for the risk of relapse; in fact, it is possible to hypothesize that this condition may be linked to experiences of neglect. In the direction, the cognitive distortions towards women and the mechanism of attributing guilt to the victim represented the fulcrum of the deviant cognitive scheme capable of legitimizing the activation of violent and abusive behavior.

  • Issue Year: 2021
  • Issue No: 75
  • Page Range: 7-27
  • Page Count: 21
  • Language: English