Ashley Knipp


The objective of this study was to examine the perceptions of sex offenders about their mandated outpatient group treatment. The investigator developed an 81−item questionnaire that inquired about respondent characteristics and history; curriculum content; group therapy process; group facilitator characteristics; program policies and procedures; and offender perspectives on program strengths and weaknesses. The sample consisted of 31 male sex offenders who had all served prison sentences for a sexual offense and were involved in mandated outpatient treatment at 1 of 3 private, community−based clinics. The participants were diverse in regard to ethnicity, level of education, and marital status; they had a mean age of 44.90 years. Participants' offenses included indecent exposure, possession and/or distribution of child pornography, rape, and molestation. The majority of participants were state offenders. Participants were generally satisfied with their group treatment and viewed most treatment components as reducing their risk of recidivism. In particular, they valued curriculum related to maintaining healthy relationships and creating satisfying, fulfilling lives. Additionally, offenders viewed several components of relapse prevention and victims' issues as helpful to recovery. Group process components that were viewed as most important included hearing perspectives of other group members and receiving support from others, while confrontation by fellow group members was seen as less beneficial. Sex offenders were particularly satisfied with the fairness, genuineness, and nonjudgmental stance of group leaders; they were also receptive to confrontation by group leaders. Sex offenders were less satisfied with the extent to which the treatment was relevant to their personal needs, and with the amount of personal growth experienced as a result of treatment. They also objected to having to disclose their sexual fantasies/behaviors at weekly "check-ins," they complained about the inconvenience of mandated treatment, and they had mixed reactions to homework assignments. Participants recommended more direct feedback and confrontation by group leaders, and suggested more time be spent discussing victims' issues, relapse prevention, and "good lives" concepts. A positive outcome was that the questionnaire displayed excellent internal consistency reliability. Additional findings, limitations, and recommendations for future research are also discussed.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (PsyD) -- Psychology; Sex offenders -- Case studies; Group psychotherapy -- Case studies; Recidivism -- Prevention

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Mitchell, Cary;