Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment [saj] pp916-sebu-469138 July 15, 2003 14:34 Style ﬁle version Nov 28th, 2002
Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment, Vol. 15, No. 4, October 2003 (
An Evaluation of the Bumby RAPE and MOLEST
Scales as Measures of Cognitive Distortions With
Civilly Committed Sexual Offenders
and James Vess
Cognitive distortions are commonly viewed as an important factor in the assess-
ment and treatment of sexual offenders. However, consensus about the operational
deﬁnition of cognitive distortions and the best instrument to measure such distor-
tions is lacking. This paper evaluates the Bumby MOLEST and RAPE scales as
measuresofcognitivedistortionswith patientscivillycommittedunder California’s
Sexually Violent Predator law. Rapists and child molesters in the current sam-
ple endorsed markedly fewer cognitive distortions than the sexual offenders in
Bumby’s original study (K. M. Bumby, 1996). It is suggested that current self-
report measures such as the MOLEST and RAPE scales are too susceptible to a
socially desirable response set to provide useful data with sexual offenders who
are involuntarily committed for treatment.
KEY WORDS: cognitive distortions; sexual offenders; assessment; civil commitment.
Cognitive distortions have been proposed as critical elements in both the as-
sessment and treatment of sexual offenders. Marshall (1999) asserts that almost
all treatment programs for sexual offenders address the issue of cognitive distor-
tions. However, Geer, Estupinan, and Manguno-Mire (2000) note that although
cognitive distortions are frequently mentioned in the sexual offender literature,
there is a paucity of empirical research in this area. The authors also suggest that
because there are few consistent deﬁnitions, researchers often discuss cognitive
distortions in different ways. For example, the term cognitive distortion has been
used interchangeably with a variety of other terms, including irrational attitudes
(Prentky & Knight, 1991), maladaptive beliefs (Ward, Keenan, & Hudson, 2000),
California Department of Mental Health, Atascadero State Hospital, Atascadero, California.
To whom correspondence should be addressed at Evaluation and Outcome Services, Atascadero State
Hospital, P.O. Box 7001, Atascadero, California 93423-7001; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
2003 Plenum Publishing Corporation