Identification of five fundamental implicit theories underlying cognitive distortions in child abusers : a preliminary study

Marziano, Vincent, Ward, Tony, Beech, Anthony R. and Pattison, Philippa 2006, Identification of five fundamental implicit theories underlying cognitive distortions in child abusers : a preliminary study, Psychology, crime and law, vol. 12, no. 1, pp. 97-105, doi: 10.1080/10683160500056887.

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Title Identification of five fundamental implicit theories underlying cognitive distortions in child abusers : a preliminary study
Author(s) Marziano, Vincent
Ward, Tony
Beech, Anthony R.
Pattison, Philippa
Journal name Psychology, crime and law
Volume number 12
Issue number 1
Start page 97
End page 105
Publisher Routledge
Place of publication London, England
Publication date 2006-01
ISSN 1068-316X
Keyword(s) child abusers
child molesters
implicit theories
cognitive distortions
Summary Qualitative analysis of interviews with 22 child abusers found strong evidence for Ward and Keenan's (1999) proposal that there are five implicit theories in child abusers that account for the majority of their cognitive distortions/thinking errors. These implicit theories are: Child as a sexual being where children are perceived as being able to and wanting to engage in sexual activity with adults and also are not be harmed by such sexual contact; Nature of harm where the offender perceives that sexual activity does not cause harm (and may in fact be beneficial) to the child; Entitlement where the child abuser perceives that he is superior and more important than others: and hence is able to have sex with whoever, and whenever, he wants; Dangerous world where the offender perceives that that others are abusive and rejecting and he must fight to regain control; and Uncontrollable where the offender perceives the world as uncontrollable and hence he believes that circumstances are outside of his control. There was no evidence for any other type of implicit theory. Results of the study also indicated that there was a significant difference in terms of the endorsement of the Dangerous world implicit theory between participants reporting a history of child sexual abuse and those who did not. Offenders against male victims were significantly more likely to endorse the Child as a sexual being and Dangerous world implicit theories compared to men who had offended against female children.
Language eng
DOI 10.1080/10683160500056887
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 ©2006, Taylor & Francis
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30034194

Document type: Journal Article
Collection: School of Psychology
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