Therapeutic climate of sex offender treatment programs

Anthony Beech, Ann Scott Fordham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

172 Citations (Scopus)


A measure of group atmosphere, the Group Environment Scale (GES), was administered to members and leaders of 12 sexual offender treatment groups: 8 were probation programs; 4 were conducted at a long-term residential center. The GES measured the following aspects of group processes: relationships within the group, personal growth of members, and structure of the group. Results suggested that the atmosphere of a group had an important influence on treatment change. A successful group was highly cohesive, was well organized and led, encouraged the open expression of feelings, produced a sense of group responsibility, and instilled a sense of hope in its members. A helpful and supportive leadership style was found to be important in creating an atmosphere in which effective therapy could take place. Overcontrolling leaders were seen to have a detrimental effect upon group climate. It is suggested that the employment of a group process measure, such as the GES, would be a useful inclusion to any outcome evaluation of treatment programs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)219-237
JournalSexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1997


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