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Denial in sex offending treatment: examining criminal career diversity

Faculty Advisor




sex offending, denial, criminal careers, responsivity, treatment

Abstract (summary)

Sex offenders commonly exhibit some degree of denial of their offending. Past research has shown that denial conflicts with treatment completion, but does not necessarily increase sexual reoffending risk. This study explores whether the impact of denial upon the treatment of sex offenders is unequivocal or influenced by other factors, such as criminal career variables and dynamic risk. Thirty-five convicted male sex offenders in Italy were assessed for criminal career characteristics (e.g., heterogeneous versus specialized offending), for the nature of denial, and for dynamic risk factors. Interventions for sex offenders may be more effective if they are designed to differentiate between heterogeneous offenders who are difficult to engage in treatment, and specialized sex offenders who are more likely to engage in and complete treatment, regardless of their level of denial. Heterogeneous and specialized sex offenders pose different risks and these differences need to be taken into account in treatment.

Publication Information

Zara, G., Farrington, D., & Jung, S. (2020). Denial in Sex Offending Treatment: Examining Criminal Career Diversity. Journal of Forensic Psychology: Research and Practice, 20(5), 451-473.


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