Impact on Therapists Working With Sex Offenders: A Systematic Review of Gender Findings

Nehami Baum, Shomron Moyal

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations

Abstract

Although there is a great deal of literature about the distress of therapists who work with sex offenders, little is known about possible gender differences in their distress. The article presents a systematic review and small-scale meta-analysis that address two questions: whether one gender is more susceptible than the other to the adverse effects of treating sex offenders and whether their distress is manifested similarly or differently. Findings of 36 measures of association reported in 10 eligible studies with a total of 1,754 sex offender therapists (785 males) indicate that males are somewhat more vulnerable to the adverse effects of treating sex offenders (d =.204, p =.002). Moderator analysis indicates that male therapists show similar levels of burnout and disruption of sexual life as their female counterparts, but a significantly higher level of vicarious traumatization (d =.365, p <.001). These findings challenge Farrenkopf’s well-known claim that female therapists who work with sex offenders are more prone to experiencing adverse emotional reactions than their male counterparts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)193-205
Number of pages13
JournalTrauma, Violence, and Abuse
Volume21
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2018.

Keywords

  • burnout
  • gender differences
  • secondary traumatic stress
  • sex offender therapy
  • vicarious traumatization

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