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Examining the effects of early abuse and the links to sexual offending

Rawlings, Patricia Ann (2015)
Foren.Psy.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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The complexities of the developmental, cognitive, and neurobiological aspects of sexual offending pose a challenge to those working with convicted sexual offenders. This thesis aims to contribute to the evidence of the links between neurobiology and the practice of mindfulness, to established theories of early abuse and sexual offending.

A systematic review of the literature explored differences between sexual offenders with child or adult victims to isolate affective or neurobiological differences. The outcome suggested that neurobiological evidence should be considered as a factor.

The Affective Neuroscience Personality Scale (Davis, Panksepp & Normansell, 2003; Davis & Panksepp, 2011) and the Cognitive and Affective Mindfulness Scale-Revised (Feldman, Hayes, Kumar, Greeson & Laurenceau, 2007) indicated utility within this population. Affect and mindfulness did not differ significantly between the two offending groups. Mindfulness correlated positively with measures of positive affect in offenders. Both groups differed from non-offending norms on affect scales linked to social interaction and autonomy. A lack of positive affect was more notable than increased negative affect among sexual offenders.

This outcome is consistent with theories of early attachment, suggesting a deficit in positive affect may provide a link to reduced social interaction, autonomy, and subsequent sexual offending.

Type of Work:Foren.Psy.D. thesis.
Supervisor(s):Beech, Anthony R.
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Life & Environmental Sciences
Department:School of Psychology, The Centre for Forensic and Criminological Psychology
Subjects:BF Psychology
HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare
Institution:University of Birmingham
ID Code:6341
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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