Predicting Level of Denial Among Sex Offenders
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Predicting Level of Denial Among Sex Offenders Caitlyn E. McNeil University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Results. Introduction. Table 2: Means (Standard Deviations) and ANOVAS for the Discriminating Variables.

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Predicting Level of Denial Among Sex Offenders

Caitlyn E. McNeil

University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Results

Introduction

Table 2: Means (Standard Deviations) and ANOVAS for the Discriminating Variables

Discriminant analysis was used to determine if sex offenders who fully admitted, qualified admitted, or denied their crimes differed in terms of if they were impulsive, confused, had relapses of violent non-sex charge, diagnosed with substance abuse/depression, their education level, age diagnosed with paraphilia rape and psychosis. Table 2 shows the Means and standard deviations for each treatment group and related F-tests.

The LSD minimum mean differences were used to determine the pattern of mean differences between each level of denial for each of the various predictors. For impulse, those who did a full admission of their crimes were found to have significantly lower scores than both those who did a qualified admission and denied their crimes, while there was no mean difference between those who denied and qualified their admission. For confused and education level, those who had a qualified admission were found to have significantly higher scores than those who denied their crimes, while there was no mean difference between those who fully admitted their crimes w/ those who denied and qualified their admission. For relapse of violent non-sex charges, diagnosis of substance abuse, diagnosis of paraphilia rape, diagnosis of psychosis, and age, no mean differences were found between any of the levels of denial.

Multivariate analysis revealed that both discriminant functions reliably differentiated between the groups. The first function produced λ = .661, X2(16) = 38.729, p = .001, with an R2-canonical = .470. The second function produced λ = .848, X2(7) = 15.369, p = .032, with an R2-canonical = .389. Table 3 shows the standardized canonical coefficients and structure weights for these two models. For the first function, impulse, relapse of non-sex charge, diagnosis of substance abuse, age, and diagnosis of paraphilia rape effectively discriminated between the groups. The second function was found to have confusion, education level, and age of the sex offenders contributing to the discrimination among the groups.

ANOVA analyses w/ LSD minimum mean difference comparisons were preformed to determine which groups were significantly discriminated in the first discriminant function. Figure 1 (LDF plot) gives a graphical depiction of the multivariate results and table 4 shows the re-classification results from the LDF model. For the first function, those who fully admitted their crimes were found to be discriminated from both those who did a qualified admission and who denied their crimes F (2, 97) = 13.766, p < .001. For the second function, those who denied their crimes were found to be discriminated from both those who qualified and fully admitted their crimes F (2, 97) = 8.665, p < .001.

The purpose of this study is to examine sex offender’s relationships of level of responsibility to eight factors: impulse, confusion, relapse of violent non-sexual charges, diagnosis with substance abuse/depression, education level, age, diagnosis with paraphilia rape and psychosis. Though there has been scant research on the content, structure, and reasons for excuses among sex offenders, the intent of this study was to explore various ideas to better predict sex offender’s level of denial and to see their effect combined.

Findings from Previous Research:

■ There is no difference between deniers and admitters in age, education, and IQ (Langevin, Lang, & Curnoe (1998).

■ Deniers had a lower IQ and were younger than admitters (Baldwin & Roys, 1998 as cited in Cooper, 2005).

■ Excuses made by child molesters for their sexual misconduct may offer important indicators of remorse, rehabilitation potential, and the probability of recidivism. They may also show underlying cognitive disorders (Pollock & Hashmall, 1991).

■ Cognitive deconstruction enables individuals to distance themselves from stress affiliated with self- awareness that puts attention on the concrete rather than the abstract level. It would explain how many sex offenders “convinced themselves” that their victim was enjoying their abuse (Ward, Hudson, & Marshal, 1995 as cited in Mann, 2004).

■ Sex offenders and non-sex offenders both experience deviant fantasies (Crunoe & Langevin, 2002).

■ 25% of sex offenders reported having sexual fantisies (Langevin, Lang, Crunoe, 1998 as cited in Curnoe & Langevin, 2002).

■ Psychosis is rare among sex offenders and deviant fantasizers (Crunoe & Langevin, 2002).

■ Recidivists demonstrated more divers victims, stranger victims, more juvenile offenses and paraphilias (Hanson & Harris, 1998 as cited in Craig, Browne, & Stringer, 2003).

Research Hypotheses:

1.) Diagnosis of psychosis would not play any part in predicting a sex offender’s level of denial.

2.) If a relapse of violent non-sexual charges was involved in predicting the offender’s level of denial, then this would also be coupled with being diagnosed with paraphilia rape.

Table 3: Standardized Canonical Coefficients and Structure Weights for the Discriminant Function.

Discussion

The purpose of this study was to examine sex offender’s relationships of level of responsibility to eight factors: impulse, confusion, relapse of violent non-sex charges, diagnosis with substance abuse/depression, education level, age, diagnosis with paraphilia rape and psychosis. The hypothesis was that diagnosis of psychosis would not play any part in predicting a sex offender’s level of denial and that if a relapse of violent non-sex charges was involved in predicting the offender’s level of denial, then this would also be coupled with being diagnosed with paraphilia rape.

As hypothesized, psychosis did not play a part in predicting a sex offender’s level of denial which confirms the results from Curnoe and Langevin (2002) which stated that psychosis is rare among sex offenders which led to correctly determine that it psychosis would not be a main contributing factor to predicting sex offender level of denial.

Also as hypothesized, recidivism of violent non-sexual charges was coupled with sex offenders being diagnosed with paraphilia rape which confirms the results from Hanson and Harris (1998) found that recidivists in general demonstrated more diverse victims, stranger victims, more juvenile offenses and paraphilias (as cited in Craig et al., 2003).

Overall, there are several improvements which might be made while considering future research. Finding an accurate sex offender representation of the population may be difficult. Most sexual assaults are not detected or reported or if they are reported are not recorded. Some offenders may under or over report their offensive behavior depending on the social desirability of responding, which may then throw off the researchers data (Tierney & McCabe, 2001). The sex offenders present in the justice system may not be representative of the whole sex offender population. If the population is not representable then the information gathered from previous and future research may be only be applicable to a portion of all sex offenders (Wood, Grossman & Fichtner, 2000). Until there is a complete true justice system, all that is “known” about sex offenders is biased toward a section of sex offenders. The only way to get to this complete justice system, if at all attainable, would be to keep researching and discovering new data to help us understand and further our knowledge.

Future research should further look into whether or not IQ and education have an impact on sex offenders’ level of responsibility for their actions. It may also be advantageous to examine other characteristics such as age, sexual orientation, other paraphilias, substance abuse, or even empathy for their victims to see how those variables impact the offender’s acceptance of responsibility for their crimes. Categorizing the sex offender population into groups from different types of sex offenses to age groups to grouping by mental disorders, may be beneficial to determine if all the variables relate equally across the different populations. It may also be interesting to discover if the level of education relates to the severity of the crime. It would also be beneficial to examine which level of responsibility, experienced by certain types of sex offenders, would yield better treatment results.

Method

Table 4: Results from reclassifying Sex Offenders into Groups

  • Participants:

  • 387 male sex offenders ranging in age from 16 to 83 with a mean age of 35.8 (S.D. = 12.00).

  • Convicts were from a Midwestern state and released from either an inpatient treatment for correctional facility between 1991 and 1997.

  • 178 (46%) were in the correctional facility and 209 (54%) were in the inpatient treatment facility.

  • 280 (72.4%) were European American, 36 (9.3%) African American, 21 (5.4%) Hispanic American, 21 (5.4%) Native American, and 5 (1.3%) categorized themselves as ‘other’.

  • Measures:

  • Data was archival and was collected from correctional, treatment, and legal records.

  • Demographics (education level and age) were based on offenders condition at the time of arrest.

  • Offenders deviant sexual activities, mental deficiencies, and emotions were taken from pre-sentencing investigations, mental health evaluations, and treatment reports.

  • Offenders level of responsibility for their crimes were based from any of the available sources.

    Procedures:

  •  Treated offenders either volunteered or were civilly committed by the courts while the untreated offenders were those who refused treatment and were then randomly selected based on the time of discharge as the treated group.

  •  Treated offenders received cognitive-behavioral programming group and individual therapy in a secure forensic hospital.

*62% correctly re-classified

Figure 1:

Hi confused

Hi education level

Younger

1

Hi impulse

Low relapse of violent non-sex charge

Older

NO - dx substance abuse

NO - dx paraphilia rape

Low impulse

Hi relapse of violent

non-sex charge

Younger

YES - dx substance abuse

YES - dx paraphilia rape

-1

Qualified

1

Full

Denied

-1

Low confused

Low education level

Older


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