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The pathway from childhood sexual abuse to adult sexual offending: A multi-method comparative investigation

Barnes, Sarah (2014) The pathway from childhood sexual abuse to adult sexual offending: A multi-method comparative investigation. PhD thesis, University of York.

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Abstract

It is thought that men experiencing childhood sexual abuse are at an increased risk of becoming a child sex offender in adolescence or adulthood (Jesperson, Lalumière & Seto, 2009). While a large number of men experience childhood sexual abuse (approximately 10% of the male population, Radford, et al., 2011) only a minority go on to offend sexually (Salter et al., 2013). The broad aim of this thesis was to provide evidence for or against the victim to offender pathway, while addressing these some key limitations of the literature. Five empirical chapters are presented, building on the findings of previous research. The thesis uses a range of methodologies including self report questionnaires, empirical tests and interviews to provide validity to the results reported. Finally, a 2x2 (offender x victim) design is used throughout the thesis to allow comparisons to be made across multiple groups. The key findings of the thesis demonstrated that the four groups are separate groups; differing significantly on a variety of measures. Self report measures suggested that offender victims have almost baseline scores on cognitive distortions about sex with children and emotional congruence with children. However, their responses on more empirical measures suggested that this finding was not valid and may have been falsified by the offenders. Differences were also found between offender victims’ and non-offender victims’ narratives about their childhood, with offenders expressing more sexualized words and few positive words compared to non-offenders; they also reported having fewer people for support throughout their lives. It is concluded that experiencing childhood sexual abuse does have an impact on later sexual offending, however it is not the sole reason people offend; other influencing factors must be involved. Additionally, self report measures may not be accurate reflections of people’s opinions, with offender victims’ self reports found to be highly inaccurate. It is recommended that practitioners consider an offender’s victimization status when considering treatment needs for offenders as they may require treatment to address issues relating to their abusive experiences to enable them to fully engage with treatment programs to address their offending behaviors.  

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Child sexual abuse, child sex offender
Academic Units: The University of York > Psychology (York)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.647056
Depositing User: Miss Sarah Barnes
Date Deposited: 08 May 2015 11:47
Last Modified: 08 Sep 2016 13:32
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/8804

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