Relapse Prevention (RP) is a cognitive-behavioral approach originally developed for treatment of addictions and has since become an effective and popular method for treating sexual offenders. The Abstinence Violation Effect (AVE) is a pivotal RP construct describing one's cognitive and affective response to re-engaging in a prohibited behavior. We review the literature on the AVE in both addiction and sexual offender applications. We summarize the original and subsequent formulations of the AVE for addictions and modifications adopted for its application to sexual offenders. We argue that these modifications have generally failed to characterize sexual offense relapse cycles accurately or comprehensively. In particular, these modifications fail to specify accurately the AVE's occurrence and influence in the offense cycle. In response to these limitations, we suggest future directions for AVE research in sexual offenders.
Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment – Springer Journals
Published: Jul 27, 2006
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