P1: VENDER/GDW/GGT P2: LMD/FOM/GEE/GEE QC: GDX
Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment [saj] PP097-298864 March 2, 2001 14:14 Style ﬁle version Nov. 19th, 1999
Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment, Vol. 13, No. 3, 2001
A Revision of the Abel and Becker Cognition Scale
for Intellectually Disabled Sexual Offenders
David J. C. Kolton,
and Douglas P. Boer
The Abel and Becker Cognition Scale (ABCS) measures cognitive distortions sup-
portive of sexually assaultive behavior by child molesters. Research has shown
that ABCS items may be too complex to be comprehended by offenders with intel-
lectual disabilities. A modiﬁcation of the ABCS to increase its readability may be
one way to facilitate the valid assessment of the cognitive distortions of intellec-
tually disabled offenders. In addition, a dichotomous scoring system was found to
be helpful in the reduction of extremity bias by such offenders. The revised items,
explanation of the scoring system, and supporting data are available from the ﬁrst
KEY WORDS: cognitive distortions; assessment; intellectually disabled; child molesters.
The Abel and Becker Cognition Scale (ABCS; Abel, Becker, & Cunningham-
Rathner, 1984) was one of the ﬁrst measures of cognitive distortions developed
for child molesters. Respondents indicate the extent to which they agree with the
27 items on a 5-point scale (1 = strongly agree,5=strongly disagree). Lower
scores on the ABCS are indicative of a greater degree of permissiveness towards
adult–child sexual contact. The empirical evidence indicates that the ABCS is both
a reliable instrument and a valid tool for identifying deviant sexual beliefs.
One limitation of the ABCS is that it may be inappropriate for use with
offenders who are intellectually disabled. Clare (1993) explicated how impaired
Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada.
Regional Health Centre, Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada.
Regional Reception and Assessment Centre, Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada.
Mountain Institution, Agassiz, British Columbia, Canada.
To whomcorrespondence should beaddressed at Psychology Department, Stony Mountain Institution,
Box 4500, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, R3C 3W8.
2001 Plenum Publishing Corporation