Comparison of Sex Offenders to Nonoffenders on Selected Psychological Measures

Dawn Fisher, Anthony Beech, Kevin Browne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

143 Citations (Scopus)


A group of 140 child molesters (59 participating in community-based sex offender treatment programs and 81 incarcerated child molesters) were compared on a range of psychological measures to a group of 81 nonoffenders. Child molesters were found to be significantly lower in self-esteem, higher on emotional loneliness and personal distress, and to show deficits in victim empathy. Further differences were found between high- and low-deviancy offenders in terms of assertiveness, perspective taking, cognitive distortions regarding children, and emotional congruence with children. General empathy did not appear to be directly related to empathy for one’s own victim and the presence of cognitive distortions was only significant in high-deviancy child molesters. Some victim-blaming attitudes and distorted thinking regarding children and sex were found in the nonoffender group.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)473-491
JournalInternational Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1999


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