Denial and Antisocial Traits in Sexual Offenders
Sanders, April 1971-
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It is typically assumed that denial is related to negative outcomes among sexual offenders and significant, life changing decisions are made regarding adjudicated sexual offenders based on their denial of sexually abusive behaviors. However, little empirical evidence supports this wide-spread belief The Criminogenic model of denial proposes that sex offenders who deny their offenses tend to exhibit higher levels of antisocial traits than offenders who accept their offenses while the Adaptational model proposes that deniers and admitters do not differ in antisocial traits (Rogers & Dickey, 1991). Research findings also suggest that offenders of non-children victims tend to be more antisocial than offenders of children (e.g. Ahlmeyer et al., 2003; Whitaker et al., 2008). The purpose of this study was to test the predictions of the Criminogenic and Adaptational models by examining the relation of admission status and victim age to antisocial traits while controlling for response bias. Participants were 371 post-conviction, non-incarcerated, adult male sex offenders assessed before receiving psychological treatment. The questions addressed included: (1) Are there mean differences in faking good and faking bad response biases among sex offenders who admit and deny their sexually abusive behaviors? Are there mean differences in antisocial traits among (2) admitters versus deniers and (3) offenders of children versus non children? and (4) Does victim age (child versus non-child) moderate the relation of admission status to antisocial traits ? An ANOVA and a MANCOVA were used to examine the four research questions; the covariates were offender s’ age, years of education, and fake good and fake bad response bias. The MMPI-2-RF was used to assess fake good and fake bad response bias and antisocial tendencies (Ben-Porath & Tellegen, 2008)). Results indicated that as hypothesized, deniers provided higher levels of fake good responses than admitters; contrary to expectations, there were no differences between admitters and deniers in fake bad responses. Contrary to expectations, admitters scored higher than deniers in antisocial traits and there were no differences in antisocial traits related to age of victim. Finally, victim age did not moderate the relation of admission status to antisocial traits. Findings did not provide support for either the Criminogenic or Adaptational models of denial among sex offenders.