The Importance of Offense Characteristics, Victimization History, Hostility, and Social Desirability in Assessing Empathy of Male Adolescent Sex Offenders

The Importance of Offense Characteristics, Victimization History, Hostility, and Social... Empathy has been a focus of work with sex offenders; however, there are a limited number of studies supporting this as a deficit. The study investigated the reliability and validity of 3 scales of the Interpersonal Reactivity Index (IRI)—Empathic Concern [EC], Perspective-Taking [PT], and Personal Distress [PD]—within a clinical sample. These scales were also used to examine the differences in empathy among groups of sex offenders. One hundred and twenty-three male adolescent sex offenders (ages 12–19) completed a battery of psychometric measures that included the IRI during a sex-offender-specific assessment. Moderate internal consistency and convergent validity was established for IRI scales. Age and social desirability were related to IRI scores. Victim empathy was not related to IRI scores. Justifications and acceptance of sexual and interpersonal violence were negatively correlated to EC and positively correlated to PD. Those who committed violent offenses reported more EC and PT; however, a generally hostile temperament was negatively related to these scales. Group differences were not found when contrasted with respect to a history of sexual or physical victimization or denial. Researchers using the IRI with male adolescent sex offenders should be cautious of the influence of age and socially desirable responding. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment Springer Journals

The Importance of Offense Characteristics, Victimization History, Hostility, and Social Desirability in Assessing Empathy of Male Adolescent Sex Offenders

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Publisher
Springer Journals
Copyright
Copyright © 2003 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:1025056312935
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Empathy has been a focus of work with sex offenders; however, there are a limited number of studies supporting this as a deficit. The study investigated the reliability and validity of 3 scales of the Interpersonal Reactivity Index (IRI)—Empathic Concern [EC], Perspective-Taking [PT], and Personal Distress [PD]—within a clinical sample. These scales were also used to examine the differences in empathy among groups of sex offenders. One hundred and twenty-three male adolescent sex offenders (ages 12–19) completed a battery of psychometric measures that included the IRI during a sex-offender-specific assessment. Moderate internal consistency and convergent validity was established for IRI scales. Age and social desirability were related to IRI scores. Victim empathy was not related to IRI scores. Justifications and acceptance of sexual and interpersonal violence were negatively correlated to EC and positively correlated to PD. Those who committed violent offenses reported more EC and PT; however, a generally hostile temperament was negatively related to these scales. Group differences were not found when contrasted with respect to a history of sexual or physical victimization or denial. Researchers using the IRI with male adolescent sex offenders should be cautious of the influence of age and socially desirable responding.

Journal

Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and TreatmentSpringer Journals

Published: Sep 29, 2004

References

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