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Title

Barriers to Seeking Psychological Help Among Registered Sex Offenders

Presentation Type

Poster Presentation

Abstract

Purpose: This study determined to what extent registered sex offenders (RSO) are seeking psychological help and identified barriers that prevent help-seeking among RSOs. Additionally, this study determined how barriers and perceptions vary among different types of offenders.

Rational: Psychotherapy is a tool used in our corrections and parole systems because of its ability to reduce recidivism rates among RSOs. Recidivism rates begin to increase after ceasing treatment. RSOs must eventually seek treatment independently to control their recidivism risk because psychotherapy is typically only mandated the first few years of parole. However, RSOs help-seeking behaviors, barriers, and attitudes are unknown.

Methods: This study is partly archival, as the data was partially collected from the online sex offender registry. The remainder of our data was collected via mail survey. The survey was sent to 944 RSOs in Iowa. Questionnaires assessed various barriers, perceptions of psychological services, and various types of stigma related to mental health and RSOs.

Results: This study had about a 10% response rate. Most RSOs reported seeking psychological help and feeling they could benefit from services. The most commonly cited barriers were need for privacy, and need for emotional control. Some facilitators to help seeking were increased perceptions of public stigma toward RSOs and seeing value in psychological services. Few differences between types of RSOs were identified.

Conclusion: These finding are an important step in exploring RSO’s associations with psychological services. Findings have treatment implications and can be capitalized on to promote further psychological help-seeking among RSOs.

Start Date

3-4-2018 11:00 AM

End Date

3-4-2018 1:30 PM

Faculty Advisor

Kimberly Maclin

Department

Department of Psychology

Embargo Date

3-30-2018

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Apr 3rd, 11:00 AM Apr 3rd, 1:30 PM

Barriers to Seeking Psychological Help Among Registered Sex Offenders

Purpose: This study determined to what extent registered sex offenders (RSO) are seeking psychological help and identified barriers that prevent help-seeking among RSOs. Additionally, this study determined how barriers and perceptions vary among different types of offenders.

Rational: Psychotherapy is a tool used in our corrections and parole systems because of its ability to reduce recidivism rates among RSOs. Recidivism rates begin to increase after ceasing treatment. RSOs must eventually seek treatment independently to control their recidivism risk because psychotherapy is typically only mandated the first few years of parole. However, RSOs help-seeking behaviors, barriers, and attitudes are unknown.

Methods: This study is partly archival, as the data was partially collected from the online sex offender registry. The remainder of our data was collected via mail survey. The survey was sent to 944 RSOs in Iowa. Questionnaires assessed various barriers, perceptions of psychological services, and various types of stigma related to mental health and RSOs.

Results: This study had about a 10% response rate. Most RSOs reported seeking psychological help and feeling they could benefit from services. The most commonly cited barriers were need for privacy, and need for emotional control. Some facilitators to help seeking were increased perceptions of public stigma toward RSOs and seeing value in psychological services. Few differences between types of RSOs were identified.

Conclusion: These finding are an important step in exploring RSO’s associations with psychological services. Findings have treatment implications and can be capitalized on to promote further psychological help-seeking among RSOs.