Reducing Deviant Arousal in Juvenile Sex Offenders

Period of Performance: 05/01/1991 - 04/30/1992


Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Northwest Media, Inc.
Eugene, OR 97401
Principal Investigator


DESCRIPTION: (Adapted from Applicant's Abstract) The applicant will continue to develop and evaluate vicarious sensitization (VS), a new form of aversive conditioning for the treatment of juvenile sex offenders. In VS, the aversive stimuli are videotaped portrayals of adolescent sex offenders who must contend with the negative social, emotional, and legal consequences of their crimes against young children. Subjects are alternatively exposed to audiotaped crime scenarios designed to evoke arousal to children, followed immediately by presentation of an aversive video vignette. Many trials are needed to evoke anxiety rather than deviant fantasies or actual abuse. A set of video vignettes was produced and pilot-tested in Phase I; results indicated some decrease in arousal to children based on plethysmographic assessment. In Phase II, the aversive video vignettes will be expanded, refined, and used to evaluate VS in a large-scale, randomized field experiment. Using a waiting-list control group design, the effects of VS on 70 adolescent child molesters will be assessed. Change measures will include phallometric indices, scores on an arousal card sort, and client satisfaction ratings. A fully automated, low-cost delivery system will be implemented in Phase II also.