An examination of implicit theories among francophone child molesters

Sarah Paquette, Franca Cortoni, Jean Proulx, Nicholas Longpre

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


According to Ward (2000), cognitive distortions emerge from “implicit theories” (ITs). Ward and Keenan (1999) established a typology of the ITs of child molesters in which they classified existing knowledge on their cognitive distortions into five categories: “entitlement”, “nature of harm”, “uncontrollability”, “child as sexual being” and “dangerous world”. The purpose of this research was to examine whether the cognitive distortions of child molesters are encapsulated fully by these five categories of ITs. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 20 convicted francophone child molesters and their cognitive distortions were analysed. Results indicate that six ITs were present in this sample. “Entitlement”, “nature of harm” and “uncontrollability” were identical to those of Ward and Keenan. “Child as sexual being” and “dangerous world” were present, but varied from their original versions. A new IT emerged, which we called “child as partner”. We discuss these findings in comparison to their original versions.

© 2013, National Organisation for the Treatment of Abusers. This is an author produced version of a paper published in JOURNAL OF SEXUAL AGGRESSION uploaded in accordance with the publisher’s self- archiving policy. The final published version (version of record) is available online at the link. Some minor differences between this version and the final published version may remain. We suggest you refer to the final published version should you wish to cite from it.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)182-192
JournalJournal of Sexual Aggression
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • implicit theories
  • cognitive distortions


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