Distorted Attitudes and Perceptions, and Their Relationship with Self-Esteem and Coping in Child Molesters

  • W. L. MarshallEmail author
  • L. E. Marshall
  • Sarah Sachdev
  • Raina-Lianne Kruger


Two studies were conducted to compare various aspects of child molesters, nonsexual offenders, and community-based nonoffenders. These studies were aimed at examining some implications of our general model of sexual offending. Study 1 compared the responses of these 3 groups on measures of self-esteem, attitudes toward women and children, and social desirability tendencies. The only observed difference was that child molesters had significantly lower self-esteem than did the other 2 groups. In Study 2, child molesters displayed more cognitive distortions about sex between adults and children than did nonsexual offenders or nonoffenders. However in this study child molesters scored in the same range as the other participants on self-esteem and the tendency to use sex as a way of coping with problems. The results are discussed in terms of the differences between the present findings and earlier studies, and their implications for future research.

child molesters attitudes self-esteem coping style 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • W. L. Marshall
    • 1
    Email author
  • L. E. Marshall
    • 1
  • Sarah Sachdev
    • 1
  • Raina-Lianne Kruger
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyQueen's UniversityKingstonCanada

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