Group CBT for men with intellectual disabilities and/or autism who have harmful sexual behaviour

Glynis H. Murphy, Neil Sinclair, Clare Melvin, Peter E. Langdon

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Objectives: Men with intellectual disabilities and/or autism sometimes engage in harmful sexual behaviour (HSB), but it may be harder for them to access treatment, than it is for non-disabled men. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of attending an adapted CBT group, known as SOTSEC-ID, on men with intellectual disabilities and/or autism who had HSB.
Method: Ninety-eight men from intellectual disability services, who had ID and/or autism and a history of HSB were recruited, and they received group CBT for a year (46 of these men have been previously reported). Harmful sexual behaviour, sexual knowledge, distorted cognitions and victim empathy were measured before and after treatment, and at 6 month follow-up.
Results: There were low levels of further harmful sexual behaviour: 12% of men engaged in further HSB during the 1- year period of the group, and 8% engaged in further HSB in the 6-month follow-up period. There were also significant improvements in sexual knowledge, distorted cognitions and victim empathy following treatment, maintained at 6-month follow-up. Men with autism showed significantly more non-contact HSB, were less likely to have been interviewed by police and had higher rates of further HSB, compared to men without autism.
Conclusions: It is concluded that SOTSEC-ID is a promising treatment for men with ID/autism and HSB. Nevertheless, the study had a number of limitations and lacked a control group, so there is now an urgent need for a proper controlled study.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)592-604
Number of pages13
JournalBritish Journal of Clinical Psychology
Issue number3
Early online date30 May 2023
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2023

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