Date of Degree

9-2015

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Program

Psychology

Advisor(s)

Elizabeth L. Jeglic

Subject Categories

Clinical Psychology | Law

Abstract

One of the strongest dynamic predictors of sexual recidivism among sex offenders is deviant sexual arousal (DSA; Hanson & Bussiére, 1998). Phallometric testing, the most commonly used method of assessing DSA, has elicited numerous methodological, ethical, and financial criticisms, while self-report measures are vulnerable to social desirability and lack of self-awareness. In an effort to overcome the limitations of previous measures of DSA, researchers have employed cognitive measures including a modified version of the Stroop task to measure DSA among sexual offenders (Price & Hanson, 2007; Smith & Waterman, 2004). These original studies used victim selection to assess the concurrent validity of the Stroop as a measure of DSA. However this assumes that victim selection is based upon DSA, which is not always the case. Therefore the research to date evaluating the Stroop as a measure of DSA has been inconclusive at best. Thus, the current validation study explored the ability of the Stroop task to assess DSA by comparing deviant Stroop latency to self-reported DSA among a non-offending sample of 570 females and 223 males. The results indicated a significant relationship between self-reported deviance and deviant Stroop performance, suggesting that the Stroop is a viable option for assessing DSA. The results have far reaching implications for sex offender risk assessment, as validation of a non-invasive, cognitive measure would allow clinicians to more quickly and ethically assess sexual offenders for risk of reoffending by evaluating their level of DSA.

 
 

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