The Link Between Sex Offenders and the Attachment Theory

Define attachment theory.

Attachment theory was introduced by British psychiatrist John Bowlby in 1969.

An attachment theory is an affection tie in which one individual takes another as a protective figure, finding security in their presence, missing them in their absence (Sex Abuse, 2006).

According to attachment theory if attachment bond is achieved during childhood, children will get the desire skills to be able to form relationship with others, if not they will not know how to interact with others and may grow fearful of relationships. That explains the reason sex offenders behave in such aggressive manner. Attachment theory is very important at a very early age. How could one develop feelings and respects for others if they missed out on maternal care. The most explicit example I can use is the bond a mother and a baby develop. The way a mother care for a baby is very important for thatís what will teach the baby how to love and be loved.

Many studies have linked attachment Theory to sexual offending. The fact that sexual offenders failed to develop attachment bond in childhood will cause them a great deal of difficulties with their intimate life. Without self confidence and self esteem, itís rather hard to develop intimacy with others. As a result sexual offenders become lonely, emotionally, confused and disturbed, this then will lead them to be hostile and aggressive and seek intimacy by violent means.

Several studies have found that sexual offenders experienced loneliness more than their non sexual offender counterparts (Sex Abuse, 2006).

Most Criminal justice professionals agree that sexual offenders cannot simply view solely from an attachment theory standpoint. There have been studies in the past that also explores social as well as Biological theories of sexual offenders, but without question, attachment theory remained one of the most dynamic theories with respect to sexual offending.

According to the journal of interpersonal violence, attachments problems in adult can be measured through an interview about attachment related events by using the pictures of such events as projective stimuli and observe the response for attachment problems (Interpersonal violence, 2004).

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