Enhancement of victim empathy is a common component in the treatment of sexual offenders. However, consensus about the definition of empathy and the best instrument to measure empathy in sexual offenders is lacking. This paper evaluates the Empat as a measure of empathy with patients civilly committed under California's Sexually Violent Predator law. Rapists and child molesters in the current sample scored significantly higher in victim empathy than any of the original sex offender groups, with rapists scoring higher than the control group cited by M. McGrath, S. Cann, and R. Konopasky (1998). Clinicians have found the Empat to be too face valid and easily manipulated by patients within this population. The construct of empathy as applied to sex offenders is reviewed and the properties of a more adequate measure of this construct are suggested.
Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 13, 2004
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