Distorted cognition related to male sexual offending: the multi-mechanism theory of cognitive distortions (MMT-CD)

Szumski, Filip and Bartels, Ross M. and Beech, Anthony R. and Fisher, Dawn (2018) Distorted cognition related to male sexual offending: the multi-mechanism theory of cognitive distortions (MMT-CD). Aggression and Violent Behavior, 39 . pp. 139-151. ISSN 1359-1789

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Abstract

Cognitive distortions are considered an important factor to the etiology and maintenance of sexual offending behavior in males. A predominant view within the literature is that cognitive distortions are cognitive products that arise from deeper cognitive structures, although it has also been proposed that goals and situational factors can play a role. In this article, we provide an updated theoretical account of cognitive distortions in males – the Multi-Mechanism Theory of Cognitive Distortions (MMT-CD). Adopting a dual-process perspective, and incorporating the concept of motivated cognition and the effects of visceral factors, we propose that cognitive distortions arise from three mechanisms, which can be identified in terms of their temporal occurrence to an offence. Mechanism I accounts for cognitive distortions that arise long before an offense is committed but serve to influence an individual’s life-course and goals in a way that brings them closer eventually sexually offending. Mechanism II accounts for distortions that arise in the lead up to or immediately before a sexual offence, thus, providing a justification for committing an offense. Mechanism III accounts for distortions that are formed post-offense as a result of the adversarial context of the individual’s social environment. We describe: (1) the nature of the each mechanism; (2) the way they underpin particular distortions; (3) the role they play in the etiology of sex offending; (4) and how they may play out in research and practice.

Keywords:cognitive distortions, Sexual offending, Etiology, Theories of sexual offending
Subjects:C Biological Sciences > C810 Applied Psychology
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Psychology
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ID Code:31072
Deposited On:07 Mar 2018 17:45

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