Is Causal Attribution of Sexual Deviance the Source of Thinking Errors?

  •  Roland Paulauskas    


Adult and juvenile offenders exhibit a number of cognitive distortions related to sexually offending behaviors. The latter may be attributed to their developmental deficiencies, the result of operant conditioning, psychological self-defense mechanisms and biases, influence of negative environmental factors or criminal subculture. A group of juvenile sex offenders and non-offenders were administered the Causal Attribution of Sexual Deviance Questionnaire (CASDQ). It was found that both populations interpret sexual deviance as a multi-causal phenomenon; however juvenile sex offenders are more likely to externalize its causes as compared to their pro-social peers. The paper discusses the construct of sexual deviance, different etiological theories of sexually aberrant behaviors and explores the relationship between causal attributions and thinking errors as they relate to sexually offending behaviors. It is hypothesized that misinterpretation of the causality of sexual deviance may be the source of cognitive distortions and serve as an internal reinforcer of sexual violence.

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