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Most of the evidence of the worth of psychological questionnaires in the assessment of offenders is subjective. Questionnaires are used because of their pragmatic value rather than anything else. 

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Salter (1988) states that the only crucial psychological test in the assessment and treatment of sex offenders is the penile plethysmograph, which she describes as "objective". She implies that, with the exception of the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI), most tests lack research support for sexual offenders. 

Salter presents a list of possibly useful tests (as do Pithers, Martin and Cumming, 1989) and Barnard et al. (1989) describe an interactive computer system which assesses offenders on several psychological and sexological dimensions to produce an offender profile. But it needs to be recognized that psychological measures are used for relatively broad purposes during therapy rather than simply sex offending alone. Thus, among the battery of tests that have been used in the assessment of offenders are a number of general measures of psychological functioning that may bear on his offending only obliquely: 

Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory. 
This is unusual in that there is some evidence that it discriminates among offender types. Particular profiles on this have been found to be characteristic of child rapists but not incest offenders, for example (Armentrout and Hauer, 1978; Panton, 1979), although others have found no differences between sex offenders and other types of offender (Quinsey, Arnold and Pruesse, 1980). 

Beck Depression Inventory (Beck, 1967). 

Buss-Durkee Hostility Inventory (Buss and Durkee, 1957). 
"Once in a while I cannot control my urge to harm others." 

Fear of Negative Evaluations Scale (Watson and Friend, 1969). 
I become tense and jittery if I know someone is sizing me up." 

Interpersonal Reactivity Index (Davis, 1980). 
"I sometimes feel helpless when I am in the middle of a very emotional situation." 

Rotter Locus of Control Scale (Rotter, 1966). 

Situational Competency Test (Chaney, O'Leary and Marlatt, 1978). 

Social Avoidance and Distress Scale (Watson and Friend, 1969). 
"I feel relaxed even in unfamiliar social situations." 

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Social-Trait Anxiety Scale (Spielberger, Gorsuch and Lushene, 1970). 

Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (Wechsler, 1981). 

Michigan Alcoholism Screening Test (Seltzer, 1971). 
"Have you ever awakened the morning after some drinking the night before and found that you could not remember a part of the evening?" 

Internal/External Scale (Nowicki and Strickland, 1973). 
"Do you feel that if things start out well in the morning it is going to be a good day no matter what you do?" 

The following are psychologically based measures that have been held to be particularly pertinent for use in the psychosexual assessment of offenders. Many of these are reproduced in full in Salter (1988):

Alert List (Silver, undated). 
This is a list of behaviours that might signal offence linked behaviours if present in significant numbers: 
"Any invasion of child's privacy, e.g., entering their bedroom or bathroom unchaperoned without being asked to." 

Attitudes Toward Women (Spence and Helmreich, 1978). 
"It is ridiculous for a woman to run a locomotive and for a man to darn socks." 

Clarke Sexual History Questionnaire (Langevin, 1983). 

Cognitions Scale (Abel et al., 1984). 
This is a measure of distorted recognitions about sexual offending: 
"An adult can tell if having sex with a young child will emotionally damage the child in the future." 

Multiphasic Sex Inventory (Nichols and Molinder, 1984). 

Rape Myth Acceptance Scale (Burt, 1980). 
Another measure of distorted beliefs about sexual offending, although not primarily directed to child sexual abusers. 
"Many women have an unconscious wish to be raped, and may then unconsciously set up a situation in which they are likely to be attacked." 

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Relapse Fantasies (Marlatt and Gordon, 1985). 

Sex Fantasy Questionnaire (Wilson, 1978). 
This is a measure of frequency of fantasizing about themes like: "Whipping or spanking 

Sexual Interest Card Sort (Abel and Becker, 1985). 
This evaluates sexual interest in a number of types of deviant and unusual sexual thoughts. A typical item from the measure is: "I'm lying back naked on the bed with my daughter sitting on top of me. I'm stroking her naked body with my hands and pushing my fingers into her cunt." 

Although it is not appropriate to debate the detail of the use of such psychological tests and measures in the assessment of sex offenders here, it is important to stress that such tests can often have a spurious air of objectivity which they may not deserve. 

Campbell (1992) presents a case study of the use of psychological measures in forensic work in which a psychologist failed to meet professional standards in the interpretation and administration of the tests. He concludes that, 

"standardized tests can confer such an appearance of expertise upon psychologists that their potential for leading judges and juries astray should not be underestimated" (p. 46). 

Too little is known about the worth of many of these tests. Although they may be used in clinical settings largely to aid with planning and progressing therapy, this does not mean that shortcomings in their use are of little consequence. The overlap between a psychologist's role of therapist with that of a professional contributing to decisions about the disposal of offenders inevitably means that the right of the client to a fair evaluation risks being jeopardized by the requirements of the psychologist's institutional responsibilities.

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