Psychometric Properties of the Questionnaires for Assessing Cognitive Distortions about Sexual Relations with Children

29

Abstract

The prevalence of cognitive distortions in sexual offenders is a significant risk factor for reoffending. Investigation of cognitive distortions can improve the quality of differential diagnosis and expert assessment of the accused. The aim of this study was the testing of the criterion and convergent validity, as well as the internal consistency of two scales for assessing cognitive distortions: the Dichotomic Scale of Cognitive Distortions and the Russian version of the MOLEST scale. The psychometric properties of the questionnaires were tested on a sample of 84 male subjects. Many of them (63 subjects) were accused of committing sexual criminal acts against minors (37 with pedophilia, 26 without disorders of sexual preference). The results of the study demonstrate good internal consistency for both the scales (Cronbach’s alpha was 0,910 and 0,956, respectively). Evidences of criterion validity for the diagnosis of pedophilia (for both methods at the significance level of p<0,01) and convergent validity (r=0,713; p=0) are given. The proposed scales are resistant to social desirability and can be used as additional diagnostic tools in clinical practice.

General Information

Keywords: cognitive distortions, pedophilia, pedophilic disorder, sexual offences, assessment scales, psychometric properties

Journal rubric: Methodological Problems of Legal Psychology

Article type: scientific article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.17759/psylaw.2024140102

Funding. -

Acknowledgements. -

Received: 08.09.2023

Accepted:

For citation: Demidova L.Y., Korchagin V.V., Vasiliev N.G. Psychometric Properties of the Questionnaires for Assessing Cognitive Distortions about Sexual Relations with Children [Elektronnyi resurs]. Psikhologiya i pravo = Psychology and Law, 2024. Vol. 14, no. 1, pp. 18–32. DOI: 10.17759/psylaw.2024140102. (In Russ., аbstr. in Engl.)

References

  1. Demidova L.Yu. Rol’ kognitivnykh iskazhenii v podderzhanii patterna seksual’nogo nasiliya [The Role of Cognitive Distortions in Maintaining the Pattern of Sexual Violence] [Elektronnyi resurs]. Sovremennaya zarubezhnaya psikhologiya = Journal of Modern Foreign Psychology, 2023. Vol. 12, no. 1, pp. 89–99. doi:10.17759/jmfp.2023120110 (In Russ.).
  2. Demidova L.Yu. Russkoyazychnaya versiya metodiki MOLEST scale (Bumby K., 1996) [Russian version of the MOLEST scale (Bumby K., 1996)] [Elektronnyi resurs]. Zenodo, 2023. doi:10.5281/ZENODO.8289981 (In Russ.).
  3. Demidova L.Yu. Shkala kognitivnykh iskazhenii dikhotomicheskaya (ShKID) [Dichotomic Scale of Cognitive Distortions] [Elektronnyi resurs]. Zenodo, 2023. doi:10.5281/ZENODO.8287531 (In Russ.).
  4. Piaget J. Izbrannye psikhologicheskie trudy. Moscow: Mezhdunarodnaya pedagogicheskaya akademiya, 1994. 680 p. (In Russ.).
  5. Serov A.D. Otsenka kognitivnykh iskazhenii v sfere seksual’nosti u lits, sovershivshikh polovye prestupleniya protiv nesovershennoletnikh [Evaluation of Cognitive Sexual Distortions in Persons Who have Committed Sex Crimes Against Minors] [Elektronnyi resurs]. Psikhologicheskaya nauka i obrazovanie psyedu.ru = Psychological Science and Education psyedu.ru, 2014. Vol. 6, no. 3, pp. 188–196. doi:10.17759/psyedu.2014060319 (In Russ.).
  6. Tkachenko A.A., Kamenskov M.Yu., Demidova L.Yu. Sovremennaya diagnostika rasstroistv seksual’nogo predpochteniya (mezhdunarodnyi opyt) [Contemporary diagnosis of sexual preference disorders (international practices)]. Rossiiskii psikhiatricheskii zhurnal = Russian Journal of Psychiatry, 2017, no. 6, pp. 60–69. (In Russ.).
  7. Abel G.G., Gore D.K., Holland C.L., Camp N., Becker J.V, Rathner J. The measurment of the cognitive distortions of child molesters. Annals of Sex Research, 1989. Vol. 2, no. 2, pp. 135–152. doi:10.1007/BF00851319
  8. Arkowitz S., Vess J. An evaluation of the Bumby RAPE and MOLEST scales as measures of cognitive distortions with civilly committed sexual offenders. Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment, 2003. Vol. 15, no. 4, pp. 237–249. doi:10.1177/107906320301500402
  9. Arnold B. ‘You, of all people’: the inappropriateness of imputing knowledge of victim harm onto sexually abused child sexual offenders during sentencing. Current Issues in Criminal Justice, 2023. Vol. 35, no. 2, pp. 214–233. doi:10.1080/10345329.2022.2160225
  10. Baúto R.V., Cardoso J., Leal I. Preliminary validation of Bumby RAPE and MOLEST scales: exploratory factorial analysis. Annals of Medicine, 2021. Vol. 53, no. S1, pp. S130. doi:10.1080/07853890.2021.1896190
  11. Bertsch I., Potard C., Réveillère C., Hoang Pham T., Courtois R. Contribution of a cluster approach to identify the profiles of men sentenced for sexual violence according to their risk of reoffending. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 2023. Vol. 38, no. 3-4, pp. 2910–2933. doi:10.1177/08862605221104529
  12. Bonta J., Andrews D.A. The psychology of criminal conduct. New York, NY: Routledge, 2017. 470 p.
  13. Bumby K.M. Assessing the cognitive distortions of child molesters and rapists: development and validation of the MOLEST and RAPE scales. Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment. 1996. Vol. 8, no. 1, pp. 37–54. doi:10.1177/107906329600800105
  14. Cartwright A.D., Craig J. Empathy and cognitive distortions in sex offenders participating in community based treatment. International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology, 2023. Vol. 67, no. 16, pp. 1599–1614. doi:10.1177/0306624X221133000
  15. D’Urso G., Parretta S., Cancellieri U.G., Petruccelli I. Social-emotional and cognitive risk factors connected with recidivism in sexual offenders: an explorative study. Revista de Cercetare si Interventie Sociala, 2021. Vol. 75, pp. 7–27. doi:10.33788/rcis.75.1
  16. Eberhaut S., Schmidt A.F., Banse R., Eher R. Child abuse myths are pedophilic myths: cognitive distortions are stronger in individuals convicted of sexual offenses diagnosed with pedophilia compared to those without such diagnosis. Deviant Behavior, 2023. Vol. 44, no. 7, pp. 1013–1025. doi:10.1080/01639625.2022.2132548
  17. Gannon T.A., Keown K., Rose M.R. An examination of current psychometric assessments of child molesters’ offense-supportive beliefs using Ward’s implicit theories. International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology, 2009. Vol. 53, no. 3, pp. 316–333. doi:10.1177/0306624X07312791
  18. Hall R.C.W., Hall R.C.W. A profile of pedophilia: definition, characteristics of offenders, recidivism, treatment outcomes, and forensic issues. Mayo Clinic Proceedings, 2007. Vol. 82, no. 4, pp. 457–471. doi:10.4065/82.4.457
  19. Hanson R.K., Gizzarelli R., Scott H. The attitudes of incest offenders: sexual entitlement and acceptance of sex with children. Criminal Justice and Behavior, 1994. Vol. 21, no. 2, pp. 187–202. doi:10.1177/0093854894021002001
  20. Hanson R.K., Lee S.C., Thornton D. Long term recidivism rates among individuals at high risk to sexually reoffend. Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment, 2022. Vol. 36, no. 4. doi:10.1177/10790632221139166
  21. Helmond P., Overbeek G., Brugman D., Gibbs J.C. A meta-analysis on cognitive distortions and externalizing problem behavior: associations, moderators, and treatment effectiveness. Criminal Justice and Behavior, 2015. Vol. 42, no. 3, pp. 245–262. doi:10.1177/0093854814552842
  22. Helmus L., Hanson R.K., Babchishin K.M., Mann R.E. Attitudes supportive of sexual offending predict recidivism: a meta-analysis. Trauma, Violence & Abuse, 2013. Vol. 14, no. 1, pp. 34–53. doi:10.1177/1524838012462244
  23. Howitt D., Sheldon K. The role of cognitive distortions in paedophilic offending: Internet and contact offenders compared. Psychology, Crime & Law, 2007. Vol. 13, no. 5, pp. 469–486. doi:10.1080/10683160601060564
  24. Kettleborough D.G., Merdian H.L. Gateway to offending behaviour: permission-giving thoughts of online users of child sexual exploitation material. Journal of Sexual Aggression, 2017. Vol. 23, no. 1, pp. 19–32. doi:10.1080/13552600.2016.1231852
  25. Knott V., Impey D., Fisher D., Delpero E., Fedoroff P. Pedophilic brain potential responses to adult erotic stimuli. Brain Research, 2016. Vol. 1632, pp. 127–140. doi:10.1016/j.brainres.2015.12.004
  26. Mann R.E., Hanson R.K., Thornton D. Assessing risk for sexual recidivism: some proposals on the nature of psychologically meaningful risk factors. Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment, 2010. Vol. 22, no. 2, pp. 191–217. doi:10.1177/1079063210366039
  27. McGrath M., Cann S., Konopasky R. New measures of defensiveness, empathy, and cognitive distortions for sexual offenders against children. Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment, 1998. Vol. 10, no. 1, pp. 25–36. doi:10.1177/107906329801000104
  28. Murphy W.D. Assessment and Modification of Cognitive Distortions in Sex Offenders. In W.L. Marshall, D.R. Laws, H.E. Barbaree (eds.). Handbook of Sexual Assault: Issues, Theories, and Treatment of the Offender. New York: Plenum Press, 1990, pp. 331–342. doi:10.1007/978-1-4899-0915-2_19
  29. Paquette S., Longpré N., Cortoni F. A billion distorted thoughts: an exploratory study of criminogenic cognitions among men who sexually exploit children over the Internet. International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology, 2020. Vol. 64, no. 10-11, pp. 1114–1133. doi:10.1177/0306624X19873082
  30. Pervan S., Hunter M. Cognitive distortions and social self-esteem in sexual offenders. Applied Psychology in Criminal Justice, 2007. Vol. 3, no. 1, pp. 75–91.
  31. Steel C.M.S., Newman E., O’Rourke S., Quayle E. A systematic review of cognitive distortions in online child sexual exploitation material offenders. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 2020. Vol. 51, no. 1. doi:10.1016/j.avb.2020.101375
  32. Szumski F., Bartels R.M., Beech A.R., Fisher D. Distorted cognition related to male sexual offending: The multi-mechanism theory of cognitive distortions (MMT-CD). Aggression and Violent Behavior, 2018. Vol. 39, pp. 139–151. doi:10.1016/j.avb.2018.02.001
  33. Szumski F., Bartoszak D. Cognitive distortions and recidivism in sexual offenders against children. Problems of Forensic Sciences, 2021. Vol. 128, pp. 191–209. doi:10.4467/12307483pfs.21.011.15881
  34. Walton J.S., Duff S.C., Chou S. A brief discussion about measuring child molester cognition with the Sex with Children Scale. Child Abuse Review, 2014. Vol. 26, no. 2, pp. 91–102. doi:10.1002/car.2361
  35. Ward T., Gannon T.A., Keown K. Beliefs, values, and action: the judgment model of cognitive distortions in sexual offenders. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 2006. Vol. 11, no. 4, pp. 323–340. doi:10.1016/j.avb.2005.10.003
  36. Williams D.J., Arntfield M., Schaal K., Vincent J. Wanting sex and willing to kill: examining demographic and cognitive characteristics of violent “involuntary celibates”. Behavioral Sciences & the Law, 2021. Vol. 39, no. 4, pp. 386–401. doi:10.1002/bsl.2512

Information About the Authors

Liubov Y. Demidova, PhD in Psychology, Senior Researcher of the Laboratory of Forensic Sexology, V.P. Serbsky National Medical Research Centre for Psychiatry and Narcology of the Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation, Moscow, Russia, ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4357-1105, e-mail: lyubov.demidova@gmail.com

Vitaly V. Korchagin, Postgraduate Student of the Laboratory of Forensic Sexology, V.P. Serbsky National Medical Research Centre for Psychiatry and Narcology of the Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation, Moscow, Russia, ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1765-9405, e-mail: cor4agin.vitalik@yandex.ru

Nikita G. Vasiliev, Researcher of the Laboratory of Forensic Sexology, V.P. Serbsky National Medical Research Centre for Psychiatry and Narcology of the Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation, Moscow, Russia, ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-4930-9901, e-mail: vasiliev.n@serbsky.ru

Metrics

Views

Total: 47
Previous month: 0
Current month: 47

Downloads

Total: 29
Previous month: 0
Current month: 29