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Authors: Schmidt, Alexander F.
Niehaus, Susanna
Title: Outpatient therapists’ perspectives on working with persons who are sexually interested in minors
Online publication date: 15-Dec-2022
Year of first publication: 2022
Language: english
Abstract: Minor-attracted persons (MAPs; i.e., people who are sexually interested in children and adolescents below the age threshold of legal consent for sexual activity) exhibit high psychological distress but report difficulties finding therapeutic help and are reluctant to start treatment due to fears of therapist stigmatization. This research sought to elucidate the link between outpatient therapists’ stigmatizing attitudes toward non-offending versus offending MAPs and therapists’ willingness to treat MAPs as well as how stigmatization was related to treatment-relevant aspects such as perceived MAP treatment needs, treatment barriers, and specific MAP treatment skills. Results from a brief, anonymous online survey conducted among N = 427 Swiss outpatient therapists working in the primary healthcare system are reported. Although therapists were less stigmatizing than the general public, considerable individual differences in the stigmatization of non-offending MAPs emerged. Stigmatizing attitudes toward non-offending MAPs and a perceived lack of specific treatment competences were negatively related to therapists’ willingness to treat MAPs. A network analysis revealed direct links between subjectively perceived MAP treatment competence and treatment willingness and between treatment willingness and social distance attitudes. Other stigmatizing attitudes were only indirectly linked to treatment willingness through preferred social distance. It is a paradox that therapists believe that MAPs should greatly benefit from secondary prevention but many are unwilling to provide therapy (45% in case of non-offending MAPs vs. 63% in case of offending MAPs) or do not feel competent to provide MAPs with professional help (47% with and 88% of therapists without previous MAP treatment experience). Implications for increasing therapists’ treatment willingness are discussed.
DDC: 150 Psychologie
150 Psychology
Institution: Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz
Department: FB 02 Sozialwiss., Medien u. Sport
Place: Mainz
Version: Published version
Publication type: Zeitschriftenaufsatz
License: CC BY
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Journal: Archives of sexual behavior
Pages or article number: 4157
Publisher: Springer Science + Business Media B.V.
Publisher place: Dordrecht u.a.
Issue date: 2022
ISSN: 1573-2800
Publisher DOI: 10.1007/s10508-022-02377-6
Appears in collections:DFG-491381577-H

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