Monday, September 19, 2016

A very complicated issue

Child sex abuse doesn't create paedophiles

I think one of the most useful things in this article is the acknowledgement of the difficulty of conducting research in this area:
Our current understanding of the victim-offender cycle in child
sexual abuse comes from studies based on interviews with incarcerated
sex offenders or those in treatment programs, or self-report measures.
These are inherently unreliable methods, which fail to get to the bottom
of a sex offender’s victimisation history.

Another problem with these studies lies not with the offenders
themselves, but with the researchers’ “expectancy biases”. Those
interviewing sex offenders, for instance, may ask about childhood sexual
abuse and note its presumed significance to the offender’s criminal
history. They may end up putting more emphasis on this link than other
(perhaps more causative) factors.
Given the recent controversy about the difficulty of reproducing almost any study in psychology, it is good to see this acknowledged...

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