chapter  14
The self- regulation model of the sexual offense process: risk, need, and treatment change
Pages 17

The Self-Regulation Model (SRM) of sexual offending (Ward & Hudson, 1998) is an offense-process model which includes the cognitive, behavioral, affective, and contextual factors that lead to the occurrence of a sexual offense. The model was designed to account for the diversity of sexual offending and to better describe the offense process, without the limitations inherent in the Relapse Prevention Model (RPM; Ward, Louden, Hudson, & Marshall, 1995; Yates & Kingston, 2005; Yates & Ward, 2007, 2008). The SRM (see Figure 14.1) was derived from self-regulation theory, a complex model of decision-making and goaldirected behavior (Baumeister & Heatherton, 1996; Baumeister & Vohs, 2004), and describes a multi-phase model of offense progression, from the event that initiates the progression through to decision-making and the evaluation of behavior following the commission of a sexual offense. The model also delineates four pathways to offending based on whether goal-directed actions result from inhibitory or appetitive goals, and whether the strategies to achieve offense-related goals are passive or active. These four pathways are described briefly below. The avoidant passive pathway is characterized by a desire to refrain from offending and a lack of strategies to achieve this inhibitory goal. Offenders following this pathway utilize passive or covert strategies (e.g., ignoring deviant thoughts or urges) to refrain from offending and are characterized by an underregulated self-regulatory style. The avoidant active pathway is characterized by a misregulated selfregulatory style during the sexual offense progression. Offenders following this pathway desire avoiding offending, and employ active strategies, such as alcohol use, to refrain from offending and manage offense-related desires. However, these strategies are ineffective and may have the iatrogenic effect of actually increasing risk to offend. The approach automatic pathway to offending is characterized by an underregulated self-regulation style. Individuals following this pathway do not attempt to avoid offending, but rather desire to offend, and the offense progression is initiated by situational cues that activate antisocial cognitive schema. Offense

planning is unsophisticated and rudimentary, and offending may occur impulsively or opportunistically. Lastly, the approach explicit pathway is characterized by intentional and conscious planning of the sexual offense and explicit strategies to achieve this goal. As such, this pathway is characterized by an intact self-regulation style. The offense process is well-planned.