An examination of implicit theories among francophone child molesters

Sarah Paquette*, Franca Cortoni, Jean Proulx, Nicholas Longpre

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)182-196
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Sexual Aggression
Issue number2
Early online date17 May 2014
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2014


  • child molesters
  • cognitive distortions
  • implicit theories

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