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Assessing the implicit beliefs of sexual offenders using the Implicit Relational Assessment Procedure: a first study

By David L. Dawson, Dermot Barnes-Holmes, David M. Gresswell, Aidan J. Hart and Nick J. Gore


Researchers have proposed that the cognitive distortions of sexual offenders are underpinned by a number of implicit cognitive processes termed implicit theories. Until \ud recently, however, the implicit theory hypothesis has received little empirical support due to broader limitations with standard forensic assessment procedures. The current research aimed to determine whether a new assessment methodology, the Implicit Relational Assessment Procedure (IRAP), could provide further evidence for Ward and Keenan’s (1999) children as sexual beings implicit theory. The results indicated that the \ud IRAP was significantly more effective at identifying core implicit differences between sexual offenders against children and nonoffenders than a cognitive distortion \ud questionnaire. Furthermore, although both groups demonstrated an overall response bias towards adults as sexual and children as nonsexual, this bias was significantly impaired in the sexual offender group. The findings are discussed in relation to previous \ud implicit theory research and recommendations for the development of implicit methodologies are made

Topics: C800 Psychology, C840 Clinical Psychology
Publisher: Sage
Year: 2009
DOI identifier: 10.1177/1079063208326928
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