Date of Conferral







Tracy G. Marsh


Mental health professionals may lack the necessary knowledge and competency to work with female sexual offenders. The purpose of this quasi-experimental study was to determine whether gender influences attitudes toward sexual offenders and their treatment outcomes among psychology and mental health graduate students. This study was grounded in a dual form of deductive theory; alpha and beta bias was the primary theory and constructivism was the secondary theory. Data were collected from 186 graduate students in mental health programs from multiple universities. The Community Attitudes Towards Sex Offenders and the Attitude Towards the Treatment of Sexual Offender assessments were used to measure attitudes toward sexual offenders and attitudes toward sexual offender treatment. Factorial ANOVAs revealed a main effect for offender gender, with more negative attitudes toward female sexual offenders and the treatment of female sexual offenders. A significant interaction effect was found between gender of participant and gender of offender. Attitudes toward female treatment were more negative, particularly with male participants. Considering that most sexual offender treatment programs and awareness programs are geared toward male offenders, findings may be used to develop more effective policy and treatment for female sexual offenders.