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Dissertation

Assessing self-conscous emotions of adult child molesters: Reliability and validity of the SOGSS

20 July 1997

Abstract

This dissertation examined the relationship between self-conscious emotions and empathy with an adult child molester population. Four inventories were used in the study. Two inventories (Test of Self-Conscious Affect; Sex Offender Guilt and Shame Scale) measured self-conscious emotions, addressing general situations and sex offender specific situations respectively. The second two inventories (Interpersonal Reactivity Index; Child Molester Empathy Measure) addressed empathy issues, for both general situations and sex offender specific situations respectively. The Sex Offender Guilt and Shame Scale (SOGSS) was developed for this study. There were four primary areas of exploration. First, the reliability and validity of the SOGSS was investigated . . Second, self-conscious emotions (i.e. Shame, Guilt, Extemalization and Detachment/Unconcern) were investigated to determine if they correlated with sex offenders similarly as they did to general populations. Third, correlations between self-conscious emotions and empathy were investigated to see if they correlated similarly with sex offenders as with the general population. The primary hypothesis in this area was that shame would negatively and guilt positively correlate with empathy. Finally, a four-month retesting of a prison sample in treatment for sexual offenses was conducted to determine if there were differences between test administrations in terms of self-conscious emotions and empathy. Results generally supported the four areas of exploration, although not all hypotheses were confirmed. The SOGSS demonstrated strong reliability and provided solid initial validity information. Shame showed to be a generally poor indicator of empathy, while Guilt did somewhat better. Extemalization and Detachment actually showed to be stronger and more consistent indicators of Empathy. Finally, re-testing of the prison sample showed marked improvement in virtually all areas including decreased Shame, increased Guilt and an increase in Empathy.


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