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What's in a measure? A multi-method study of child sexual offenders' beliefs

Koewn, Kirsten, Gannon, Theresa A. and Ward, Tony 2010, What's in a measure? A multi-method study of child sexual offenders' beliefs, Psychology, crime & law, vol. 16, no. 1-2, January-February, pp. 125-143, doi: 10.1080/10683160802622022.

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Title What's in a measure? A multi-method study of child sexual offenders' beliefs
Author(s) Koewn, Kirsten
Gannon, Theresa A.
Ward, Tony
Journal name Psychology, crime & law
Volume number 16
Issue number 1-2
Season January-February
Start page 125
End page 143
Publisher Routledge
Place of publication London, England
Publication date 2010-01
ISSN 1068-316X
Keyword(s) child sexual offenders
child molesters
belief
cognition
multi-method
experimental
Summary The hypothesis that child sexual offenders (CSOs) hold distorted, offence-supportive beliefs is usually investigated using interview and questionnaire techniques. However, in light of various problems associated with the use of these techniques, researchers are increasingly turning to cognitive-experimental approaches. To date, no study has examined potential differences in the nature of the beliefs that are revealed using interview, questionnaire, and experimental methods. In this study, data is gathered using these three methods and the results triangulated. CSOs are interviewed and the content categorised into five belief types. CSOs and offender controls then complete a questionnaire measure of offence-supportive beliefs and an experimental task (Rapid Serial Visual Presentation-Modified, or RSVP-M), which uses sentence reading times to explore content held in cognitive structures. As hypothesised, CSOs showed evidence of holding distorted beliefs according to the interview and questionnaire measures. Against predictions, however, CSOs did not show evidence of holding distorted belief structures on the RSVP-M task. In fact, the three methods showed no agreement regarding the belief types each CSO was deemed to hold. These results raise important questions about the phenomena and potential artefacts measured by each method.
Language eng
DOI 10.1080/10683160802622022
Field of Research 170199 Psychology not elsewhere classified
Socio Economic Objective 970117 Expanding Knowledge in Psychology and Cognitive Sciences
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2010, Taylor & Francis
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30034190

Document type: Journal Article
Collection: School of Psychology
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