Reducing stigma and punitive attitudes towards pedophiles through narrative humanization

Harper, Craig and Bartels, Ross and Hogue, Todd (2017) Reducing stigma and punitive attitudes towards pedophiles through narrative humanization. Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment . ISSN 1079-0632

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Abstract

Stigmatization and societal punitiveness about pedophilia has a range of potential consequences, such as the social isolation of people with sexual interest in children, and the formation of policies that are not consistent with empirical research findings. Previous research has shown that people with pedophilic sexual interests use societal thinking to self-stigmatize, which in turn may actually serve to increase their risk of committing a sexual offense. In this study, we compared two attitudinal interventions (first-person narrative vs. expert opinion) using a student sample (N =100). It was hypothesized that both interventions would lead to reductions in stigmatization and punitive attitudes about pedophiles on an explicit (self-report) level, but that only the narrative intervention would lead to reductions of these constructs at the implicit level. Our findings supported both hypotheses. We further discuss the role of narrative humanization in this area, and offer suggestions for further research based upon the theoretical and methodological implications of the findings.

Keywords:pedophilia, punitive attitudes, narratives, dehumanization, stigmatization, attitude change
Subjects:C Biological Sciences > C810 Applied Psychology
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Psychology
ID Code:24984
Deposited On:16 Nov 2016 16:33

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