Date of Conferral
Chris N. Kladopoulos
Current therapeutic treatment methods are ineffective in identifying at-risk sex offenders and reducing recidivism of known offenders, likely due to inadequate identification of specific traits of sex offenders. Previous research and prominent theories in the area of sex offender treatment, in terms of the biological foundation of substance abuse, behaviors of sex offenders, and the presence of aggression, helped to guide this research. Data about sex offenders were collected, as reported by mental health professionals who treat them and focused on three characteristics: maladaptive interpersonal behaviors, impulsivity, and antisocial behaviors, on which the research questions were formed to detect commonality. For this study, a phenomenological approach was chosen through a qualitative design and an 11-item open-ended questionnaire was developed with which 11 mental health professionals who treated sex offenders were interviewed. The audio was transcribed, the text was coded into the themes of the research questions, and the data was analyzed for commonality. The results indicate that all three traits in the research questions are common among sex offenders. The results of this research added to the framework of understanding of common behaviors among sex offenders and to positive social change by providing a clearer understanding of the three targeted behaviors. The information gathered from this qualitative research will guide larger-scale quantitative studies on the sex offender population, ultimately assisting sex offender treatment providers and forensic interviewers with more rapid identification of traits specific to sex offenders.