Examining the influence of denial, motivation, and risk on sexual recidivism.

Leigh Harkins, Anthony Beech, Alasdair Goodwill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

38 Citations (Scopus)


This study examined the relationship between denial, motivation, static risk (Risk Matrix 2000), and sexual recidivism. Denial was measured in three ways: A Denial Index (resulting from the combination of several measures of different aspects of denial), Absolute Denial, and Denial of Risk. Motivation for treatment was also examined. Logistic regression analyses in a sample of 180 sex offenders using a fixed 10-year follow-up found that risk moderated the relationships between the Denial Index, Absolute Denial, and sexual recidivism. In particular, among high-risk offenders, denial predicted decreased sexual recidivism. An opposite pattern was observed for the low-risk offenders who were in denial, although these differences were not significant. In terms of Denial of Risk, those who were denying they presented a future risk for offending (i.e., higher on Denial of Risk) were less likely to reoffend than those who reported seeing themselves as presenting a high risk. Motivation for treatment was positively correlated with recidivism, but the effect disappeared once static risk was controlled.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)78-94
Number of pages17
JournalSexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2010


  • sexual offender
  • static risk factors
  • motivation
  • denial


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