The implicit theories of child sexual exploitation materials users: an initial conceptualization

Bartels, Ross and Merdian, Hannah Lena (2016) The implicit theories of child sexual exploitation materials users: an initial conceptualization. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 26 . pp. 16-25. ISSN 1359-1789

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Item Type:Article
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Abstract

Contact sexual offenders have been proposed to hold a set of distorted core beliefs about themselves, others, and the world. These beliefs (or ‘implicit theories’) bias information in an offense-supportive manner, contributing to the etiology and maintenance of sexual offending. In recent years, there has been an increased research interest in online ‘child sexual exploitation material’ (CSEM) users, particularly since research has shown they are distinct from contact child abusers. In light of their distinction, it is hypothesized that CSEM users will possess their own set of implicit theories that guide their interpretation of intra/interpersonal information in a manner that influences the viewing and downloading of CSEM. Following a qualitative analysis of the existing empirical CSEM literature, an initial conceptualization of the implicit theories held by CSEM users is offered in the present paper. These include: ‘Unhappy World’, ‘Children as Sexual Objects’, ‘Nature of Harm (CSEM variant)’, ‘Self as Uncontrollable’, and ‘Self as Collector’, each of which is contextualized by a general assumption about the reinforcing nature of the Internet. The paper provides a detailed account of each implicit theory, including its content and function. Practical and research implications are also highlighted.

Keywords:Child sexual exploitation material; Child pornography offenders; Implicit theories; Cognitive distortions; Theory; Core beliefs, NotOAChecked
Subjects:C Biological Sciences > C800 Psychology
C Biological Sciences > C810 Applied Psychology
C Biological Sciences > C890 Psychology not elsewhere classified
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Psychology
ID Code:19676
Deposited On:24 Nov 2015 15:19

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