Empathy, Self-Esteem, and the Adolescent Sexual Offender

Empathy, Self-Esteem, and the Adolescent Sexual Offender Though empathy training is routinely utilized in the treatment of adolescent sexual offenders, there has been little research to support the link between a lack of empathy and sexual offending. Alternatively, self-esteem building is not as frequently incorporated into treatment. This paper reports our exploration of these two variables as predictors of sexual offense. Offenders' (N = 84) scores on a general measure of empathy were no lower than the scores of nonoffenders (N = 113), although their self-esteem scores were significantly lower. Correlation and regression analyses of empathy and self-esteem with relevant background variables tended to support our findings and the validity of our measures. Ambiguities in the conceptualization of empathy may retard our understanding of its usefulness as a treatment and its power as a predictor of sexual offense. Although limitations in study design point to the need for additional sophisticated research, low self-esteem may be a contributor to adolescent sexual offending and may serve as a target for treatment of these youthful offenders. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment Springer Journals

Empathy, Self-Esteem, and the Adolescent Sexual Offender

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Publisher
Kluwer Academic Publishers-Plenum Publishers
Copyright
Copyright © 1998 by Plenum Publishing Corporation
Subject
Psychology; Sexual Behavior; Psychiatry; Clinical Psychology; Criminology and Criminal Justice, general
ISSN
1079-0632
eISSN
1573-286X
D.O.I.
10.1023/A:1022019532573
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Though empathy training is routinely utilized in the treatment of adolescent sexual offenders, there has been little research to support the link between a lack of empathy and sexual offending. Alternatively, self-esteem building is not as frequently incorporated into treatment. This paper reports our exploration of these two variables as predictors of sexual offense. Offenders' (N = 84) scores on a general measure of empathy were no lower than the scores of nonoffenders (N = 113), although their self-esteem scores were significantly lower. Correlation and regression analyses of empathy and self-esteem with relevant background variables tended to support our findings and the validity of our measures. Ambiguities in the conceptualization of empathy may retard our understanding of its usefulness as a treatment and its power as a predictor of sexual offense. Although limitations in study design point to the need for additional sophisticated research, low self-esteem may be a contributor to adolescent sexual offending and may serve as a target for treatment of these youthful offenders.

Journal

Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and TreatmentSpringer Journals

Published: Oct 6, 2004

References

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