Sunday, December 02, 2007

More NCJRS Abstracts, December 2, 2007


NCJ 220375
Stephen D. Webster; Ruth E. Mann; David Thornton; Helen C. Wakeling
Further Validation of the Short Self-Esteem Scale with Sexual Offenders
Legal and Criminological Psychology
Volume:12 Issue:Part 2 Dated:September 2007 Pages:207 to 216

This research study sought to validate a brief measure of self-esteem in sexual offenders, the Short Self-Esteem Scale (SSES). The results of this validation indicate that the Short Self-Esteem Scale (SSES) is a valid and reliable screening tool for self-esteem deficits in sexual offenders. The SSES has excellent internal consistency and test-retest reliability and discriminates sexual offenders from non-offenders. Even though not an explicit aim of the program, it was also found that participation in a cognitive-behavioral treatment program impacts positively on self-esteem, for all offense types. Overall, the SSES has excellent psychometric properties and is a meaningful scale for use with this population of offenders. Self-esteem is a popular topic in psychological theory and research. However, its role in sexual offending has received little attention since 1994 when low self-esteem was identified as only a minor criminogenic target for treatment. This study aimed to examine the psychometric properties of the SSES in order to establish its value for clinical use, and research with all types of sexual offenders. It also explored sensitivity to change of the measure. Found to be true in previous studies, it was hypothesized that self-esteem would increase following participation in treatment. The SSES was administered to 1,376 adult males serving a prison sentence for a sexual offense, and 40 nonoffending males. Tables, references

NCJ 220376
Jessica Woodhams; Clive R. Hollin; Ray Bull
Psychology of Linking Crimes: A Review of the Evidence
Legal and Criminological Psychology
Volume:12 Issue:Part 2 Dated:September 2007 Pages:233 to 249

In an attempt to offer a better understanding of the process of linking crimes, this review draws together diverse published studies by outlining what the process involves, critically examining its underlying psychological assumptions and reviewing the empirical research conducted on its viability. Available research gives some support to the assumption of consistency in criminals’ behavior. It also suggests that in comparison with intra-individual variation in behavior, inter-individual variation is sufficient for the offenses of one offender to be distinguished from those of other offenders. Thus, the results of this review support the two fundamental assumptions underlying the practice of linking crimes, behavioral consistency, and inter-individual variation. However, not all behaviors show the same degree of consistency, with behaviors that are less situation-dependent, and hence more offender-initiated, showing greater consistency. In summary, the limited research regarding linking offenders’ crimes appears promising at both a theoretical and an empirical level. Case linkage is a form of behavioral analysis involving crime analysts making predictions about whether offenses have a common offender based on their assessment of behavioral similarity across crimes. With analysts making predictions about the stability of an offender’s behavior across situations, theories underlying case linkage can be grounded in personality psychology in contrast to other forensic psychological practices. In contrast, the preliminary research conducted thus far on case linkage is directly testing the validity of the assumptions of behavioral consistency and inter-individual behavioral variation. With a concern for a better understanding of the case linkage process, literature searches were completed on the electronic databases, PsychInfo and Criminal Justice Abstracts, to identify theoretical and empirical papers relating to the practice of linking crimes and to behavioral consistency. References

NCJ 220377
Emma J. Palmer; James McGuire; Juliet C. Hounsome; Ruth M. Hatcher; Charlotte A.L. Bilby; Clive R. Hollin
Offending Behaviour Programmes in the Community: The Effects on Reconviction of Three Programmes with Adult Male Offenders
Legal and Criminological Psychology
Volume:12 Issue:Part 2 Dated:September 2007 Pages:251 to 264

This study examined the effect on reconviction of three general offending behavior programs run within a probation setting in England and Wales. Analysis findings indicate that, controlling for salient population factors, the offenders who had completed a program had a lower rate of reconviction as compared with noncompleters and comparison groups. In addition, non-completers had a higher rate of reconviction than the comparison group. The study provides cautious evidence for a completion effect as far as is possible within the confines of a high-quality, quasi-experimental design. Offending behavior programs attempt to reduce reoffending by changing offenders’ behavior through cognitive skills training. This approach is supported by the results of meta-analytic reviews of offender treatment. Employing a quasi-experimental design, this study presents findings of an evaluation of the effect on reconviction of three general offending behavior programs in the English and Welsh Probation Service with adult male offenders: Think First--addressing offenders’ social cognitive skills, Reasoning and Rehabilitation (R & R)--addressing the thinking styles commonly associated with offending, and Enhanced Thinking Skills (ETS)--a shorter alternative to the R & R program. Tables, references

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