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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 164746 Find in a Library
Title: Marching Into the Past: A Critique of Card and Olsen
Journal: Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment  Volume:8  Issue:4  Dated:(October 1996)  Pages:273-278
Author(s): D R Laws
Date Published: 1996
Page Count: 6
Type: Test/Measurement
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Card and Olsen (1996) advance a number of arguments in favor of the continued use of visual depictions of children for the plethysmographic assessment of sexual offenders; this article argues that there are more effective and less ethically and legally questionable methods for determining a person's sexual preferences.
Abstract: Card and Olsen (1996) also argue that "a ban on any exposure of a child's body, even for valid clinical scientific . . . purposes" will produce "crippling results in the field of offender treatment and assessment." This is not an accurate statement, however, since it has long been recognized that visual stimuli such as Card and Olsen propose are very weak in eliciting clinically significant levels of arousal. There are alternative methods of measuring stimuli of sexual arousal. The Abel Screen uses slides of clothed or partially dressed subjects, and the dependent variable is the amount of time the client spends observing each slide. Also, work over the past 20 years has consistently shown that auditory stimuli are highly useful in examining specific sexual preferences for various types of paraphilic behavior. Laws (1984) showed that when scripts were made highly specific to the client's own preferences and behaviors, very high levels of arousal to discrete portions of the script could be obtained. "Card sort" uses vignettes of 13 sexual content categories, each containing 10 vignettes of sexually oriented situations that the client assesses on a scale from 1 (very unattractive) to 7 (very attractive). Another approach for measuring the stimuli for sexual arousal is known as "perspective taking." In this test, vignettes describe various interactions between men and women. The task for the client is to determine how the woman or child was likely to feel in each situation and weigh competing factors to produce a judgment. This article concludes that the perspective-taking approach has considerable promise in the assessment of sexual offenders. Early results from tests suggest that it has the potential to overcome the major problem inherent in self-report questionnaires and inventories, i.e., the ability of the client to influence the results so as to appear to have nondeviant sexual interests. 16 references
Main Term(s): Child victims
Index Term(s): Child molesters; Psychological evaluation; Sex offender treatment; Sex offenders; Sexual behavior
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