The Construction and Development of Theory in the Sexual Offending Area: A Metatheoretical Framework

  • Tony Ward
  • Stephen M. Hudson


A major problem in the sexual offending area is the absence of an integrated approach to theory building. The lack of a framework to guide empirical and theoretical research has resulted in the ad hoc proliferation of theories that often overlap, and essentially neglect each others' existence. In this paper we outline a metatheoretical framework that will hopefully address these problems. This framework takes into account a number of different theory construction principles and ideas. It differentiates between different levels of theory, such as comprehensive, middle, and micro-levels, and stresses the importance of distinguishing between distal and proximal causal factors. After briefly describing this metatheory we illustrate its utility and demonstrate how different theories of sexual offending can be meaningfully integrated within this framework. We finish with some recommendations for theoretical development in the sexual offending domain.

attachment theory cognitive theories sexual arousal sexual offending theory construction 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tony Ward
    • 1
  • Stephen M. Hudson
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of CanterburyChristchurchNew Zealand

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