Assessing Implicit Theories in Sexual Offending Using Indirect Measures: Feasibility, Reliability, and Incremental Validity

Mirthe G.C. Noteborn*, Jelle J. Sijtsema, Jaap J.A. Denissen, Stefan Bogaerts

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

This study assessed psychometric qualities of indirect measures assessing Implicit Theories (ITs) of sexual offending: Implicit Association Task (IAT), Implicit Relational Assessment Procedure (IRAP), and Relational Responding Task (RRT). For comparison reasons, aggressive behavior was also assessed. In a male sample from the general population (N = 109), we assessed each measure’s (a) feasibility (mean latency, error rate, passing criteria), (b) internal consistency, (c) convergent and discriminant validity, and (d) incremental and predictive validity. Results indicated that no indirect measure met all criteria. Although the IAT was reasonably feasible and reliable in measuring aggression, ITs could not be reliably assessed. The RRT was feasible and somewhat reliable in assessing ITs, whereas the IRAP showed limited feasibility, high task complexity, low reliability, and the presence of a method factor. No measure had incremental predictive validity over the use of self-report measures, although we note that the power to detect such associations was limited. As none of the indirect measures performed satisfactorily on the measured criteria, the use of these measures in clinical practice seems currently unwarranted to assess ITs.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAssessment
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 7 May 2024

Keywords

  • assessment
  • implicit association test
  • implicit relational assessment procedure
  • implicit theories of sexual offending
  • relational responding task

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