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Offence supportive cognition in young sexual offenders: role, relevance & psychometric measurement

A thesis submitted to the University of Birmingham by Louise Elizabeth Bowers for the degree of Doctorate in Forensic Psychology Practice (Foren.Psy.D).


Offence supportive cognition (OSC) is an important theoretical and clinical concept in researching and treating adult sexual offenders. Much less is known about the role, relevance and measurement of OSC with younger sexual offenders, and this thesis aims to address that gap.

Chapter 1 presents an introduction to OSC research, highlighting issues with measurement.

Chapter 2 presents a systematic review of literature that has examined OSC in younger sexual offenders, with the aim of establishing whether OSC is a treatment need in this group.

Chapter 3 examines the psychometric properties of the Children and Sex Questionnaire-Adolescent Version (CASQ-AV; Beckett 1995), a measure of child abuse supportive beliefs that is in widespread use with younger sexual offenders.

Chapter 4 aims to establish the reliability and validity of the CASQ-AV using data from a large sample of young adult sexual offenders (aged 18 to 21 years) serving prison sentences.

Chapter 5 draws together the findings from previous chapters, highlighting that overall, the role of OSC in younger sexual offender populations is poorly understood, the relevance of this concept as a treatment need may have been overestimated, but psychometric measurement is possible. The implications of these findings for research and practice are discussed.


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