Questionnaires are relied upon by forensic psychologists, clinicians, researchers, and social services to assess child molesters’ (CMs’) offense-supportive beliefs (or cognitive distortions). In this study, we used an experimental procedure to evaluate whether extrafamilial CMs underreported their questionnaire-assessed beliefs. At time one, 41 CMs were questionnaire-assessed under standard conditions (i.e., they were free to impression manage). At time two, CMs were questionnaire-assessed again; 18 were randomly attached to a convincing fake lie detector (a bogus pipeline), the others were free to impression manage. The results showed that bogus pipeline CMs significantly increased cognitive distortion endorsements compared to their own previous endorsements, and their control counterparts’ endorsements. The findings are the first experimental evidence showing that CMs consciously depress their scores on transparent questionnaires.
Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment – Springer Journals
Published: Jan 19, 2007
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