Presentation on theme: "Benjamin Cuff. To give an overview of current practice (from a research point of view) To present a new line of research that may be useful in offender."— Presentation transcript:
To give an overview of current practice (from a research point of view) To present a new line of research that may be useful in offender empathy interventions To present preliminary data for the influence of person specific, cognitive antecedents of empathy
Seems obvious to many that offenders lack empathy, and that this deficit must be addressed. Introduced into SOTPs in the 1970s. Rapidly grew in prevalence, despite the lack of empirical support. ◦ Research began in the 1990s (Marshall et al., 1995) Contained in 87-95% of US SOTPs (McGrath et al., 2010). 1/5 th of time spent of empathy in England & Wales SOTPs (Mann & Barnett, 2012).
Mixed results (Brown et al., 2013) Most programmes have multiple components, and it is unclear which are the most successful (Marshall & Serran, 2000) Theoretical Issues General Deficits: “The evidence demonstrating that sex offenders have empathy deficits…is at best equivocal” (Brown et al., 2013) Victim Work: There is no empirical evidence for the notion that developing empathy for past victims generalizes to future situations (Barnett & Mann, 2013a)
Generalised treatments are likely inappropriate. ◦ (With the possible exception of psychopaths.) Victim empathy work needs a greater empirical base. ◦ “Victim empathy work with sexual offenders is inconsistently articulated, poorly understood, and largely untested empirically” Mann & Barnett (2012, p.295) A need to go back to basics in terms of our theoretical understanding of these issues.
Examine the multiple reasons why these deficits arise, rather than target the empathy deficits themselves (Barnett & Mann, 2013a). ◦ Suggested in the victim-specific deficits literature (Marshall & Colleagues) Marshall et al., (1995, p.109) ◦ “We believe that researchers should … develop more person- specific measures that may reveal inabilities to empathize with their victims rather than a generalized lack of empathy.” (Marshall et al., 1995) These inabilities may result from cognitions (attitudes, justifications, denial, minimisation etc.) (Brown et al., 2013), and these cognitions should form the key targets for assessment and treatment (Barnett & Mann, 2013a).
Sex offender implicit theories (Polaschek & Ward, 2002): 1.Women as Unknowable 2.Women are sex objects 3.Male sex drive is uncontrollable 4.Entitlement 5.Dangerous world CDs can interrupt empathic responding (Ward, Polaschek, & Beech, 2005) Some evidence for effectiveness of CD interventions (Watson and Stermac, 1994) However: ◦ Specific to offending ◦ Persistently held
9 person specific cognitions that have an influence on empathy: ValuingDo I value the target as a person? Perceived NeedDoes the target need help? MoralityDo I find this morally wrong? Cognitive EmpathyAm I able to understand why the target reacted in that way? AgencyAm I in control of what happens? SimilarityIs the target similar to myself? Self-InterestDo my needs take priority over the needs of the target? BlameDo I blame the target? Perceived PowerI am a more powerful person than the target?
“The Cognitive Antecedents of Empathic Responding Scale” 11 subscales (9 cognitions + empathy & sympathy) 177 undergraduate students Good internal reliability ◦ α =.71-.90 Good correlations with IRI (concurrent validity)
CognitionDescriptionEffect on Empathy r ValuingDo I value the target as a person? .65** Perceived NeedDoes the target need help? .42** MoralityDo I find this morally wrong? .42** Cognitive Empathy Am I able to understand why the target reacted in that way? .41** AgencyAm I in control of what happens? 37** SimilarityIs the target similar to myself? .35** Self-InterestDo my needs take priority over the needs of the target? -.40** BlameDo I blame the target? -.37** Perceived Power I am a more powerful person than the target? -.22** **p < 0.01
Certain cognitions seem to be particularly important for donation behaviours: ◦ Agency ◦ Valuing ◦ Morality ◦ Blame (-) More research is required to establish those cognitions which have the greatest impact on offending behaviour ◦ (both causative and preventative) Cuff et al. (in preparation)
Understanding how offenders see their victims as being “different” may lead to person-specific treatment approaches. Treatments should target each individual’s specific blocks to empathy (Barnett & Mann, 2013a). Personalizing the victim in a way that is relevant to the offender (Marshall & Marshall, 2011) ◦ Find cognitive deficits (e.g., similarity) and target those (e.g., find a way to make the victim seem more ‘similar’).
Mann & Barnett (2012, p.287) ◦ “Although (specific) victim empathy deficits may be observable in [offenders], this alone does not constitute an argument to address them in treatment, unless these deficits also predict recidivism, or if there is evidence that addressing them reduces recidivism.” More Research Is Needed!!
Mixed support for current intervention approaches It may be fruitful to look at the antecedents of empathy, rather than empathy itself. More research into context specific cognitions is needed ◦ Interventions could target individual risk factors.
Barnett, G., & Mann, R. E. (2013a). Empathy deficits and sexual offending: A model of obstacles to empathy. Aggression and Violent Behavior, Brown, S.J., Walker, K., Gannon, T.A., & Keown, K. (2013). Creating a psychologically comfortable position: The link between empathy and cognitions in sex offenders. Journal of Sexual Aggression, 19, 275-294 Cuff, Brown, Taylor, Howat, & Sleath (under review). The Cognitive Antecedents of Empathic Responding Scale. Psychological Assessment. Cuff, Brown, Taylor, Howat, & Sleath (in preparation). Cognitions, empathy, and charitable donations. Hanson, R. K. (2003). Empathy deficits of sexual offenders: A conceptual model. Journal of Sexual Aggression, 9, 13-23. Marshall, L.E., & Marshall, W.L. (2011). Empathy and antisocial behaviour. Journal of Forensic Psychiatry & Psychology, 22, 742-759. Marshall & Serran, 2000 Marshall, W. L., Hudson, S. M., Jones, R., & Fernandez, Y. M. (1995). Empathy in sex offenders. Clinical Psychology Review, 15, 99-113. McGrath et al., 2010 Mann, R.E., & Barnett, G.D. (2012). Victim empathy intervention with sexual offenders: Rehabilitation, punishment, or correctional quackery? Sex Abuse, Polaschek, D., & Ward, T. (2002). The implicit theories of potential rapists: What our questionnaires tell us. Aggression & Violent Behaviour, 7, 385-406. Ward, T., Polaschek, D., & Beech, A. (2005). Theories of Sexual Offending. Chichester: Wiley. Watson, R. J., & Stermac, L. E. (1994). Cognitive group counseling for sexual offenders. International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology, 38, 259–269.