British Journal of Clinical Psychology

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Volume 35 Issue 1 (February 1996), Pages 1-162

Causal attributions for criminal offending and sexual arousal: Comparison of child sex offenders with other offenders (pages 63-75)

Causal attributions for their offending, and for sexual arousal and sexual behaviour, were investigated for 50 males convicted of child sex offences. These attributions were compared with those obtained from 150 males convicted of one of three other criminal offences: rape, property offences and violent offences against persons. In semi‐structured interviews, the Offence and Sexual Arousal and Behaviour Attribution Questionnaires were administered. Offenders offered causal attributions for their offending and for their sexual arousal, and they rated these causes on attribution dimensions. Results showed that child sex offenders attributed both their offending and their sexual arousal to internal, stable and uncontrollable causes. Rapists and property offenders attributed their offending behaviour to external, stable and uncontrollable causes; and violent offenders to internal, stable and uncontrollable causes. In contrast to child sex offenders, the other three groups all attributed their sexual arousal and sexual behaviour to external, unstable and controllable causes. The findings are discussed in terms of their implications for intervention programmes.

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