Changes in Coping Following Treatment for Child Molesters
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Relapse prevention theory assumes that specific coping skills deficits contribute to sexual reoffending. Recent research suggests that the general coping style of sexual offenders is also ineffective. In this study changes were examined in specific and general coping deficits following a treatment program that incorporated specific skills training as well as modifying general styles. Treated incarcerated child molesters were compared to a group of incarcerated child molesters on a waiting list for treatment. Groups completed various measures aimed at identifying coping strategies used in specific high-risk situations and general coping styles. Compared to the waiting list group, treated child molesters identified more effective coping strategies in specific high-risk situations. Changes are noted in their general coping styles with an increase in the endorsement of task-focused strategies and social diversion strategies. No changes in their endorsement of ineffective strategies such as emotion-focused or distraction strategies occurred. Implications for treatment are discussed.
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