Previous work in the area of sexual offending has suggested that factors such as intimacy deficits, problems empathizing with victims, and cognitive distortions have all been associated with the genesis and maintenance of sexual abuse. While researchers have constructed theories to account for the role of these variables in sexual offending, a framework that unites their study is lacking. Recently Ward, Keenan, and Hudson have proposed that sexual offenders may suffer from a deficit in their ability to understand and attribute mental states to others. Their review of the literature on the etiology of sexual offending suggested that intimacy deficits, empathy deficits, and cognitive distortions all point to a lack of awareness of other peoples' beliefs, desires, perspectives, and needs, what is commonly referred to in the developmental literature as a theory of mind. In this paper, we expand on this argument, illustrating some of the developmental pathways by which deficits in one's theory of mind can explain the pattern of deficits exhibited by many sexual offenders.
Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 8, 2004
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