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Thesis

Psychologists’ Attitudes toward Sex Offenders

23 July 2010

Abstract

This study explored licensed psychologists’ attitudes toward sex offenders and the relationship of these attitudes to psychologists’ demographics, training, and professional experience. Participants included 272 psychologists, primarily members of individual state psychological associations, who completed an online survey. Participants answered demographic questions and items about their training and professional experience. Additionally, they completed the Attitudes Toward Sex Offenders Scale (Hogue, 1993). Results indicated that attitudes toward sex offenders did not differ significantly based on gender but did vary according to participants’ locations. Participants who had received over 30 hr of sex offender training had significantly more positive attitudes than did those without any training or with less than 11 hr of training. Psychologists who worked professionally with sex offenders demonstrated more positive attitudes toward sex offenders than did those who did not work with sex offenders. Those who did not work with sex offenders had significantly more negative attitudes than psychologists who had worked with sex offenders for 6 to 20 years. There were no significant differences based on psychologists’ primary role with sex offenders (i.e., treatment or assessment).


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