The research has demonstrated that cognitive-behavioral treatment programs for offenders work to reduce recidivism. One reason these programs have been found to be effective is that they target one of the “number one” predictors of crime, antisocial attitudes and values. Unfortunately, these programs may not “work” for all offenders. The literature suggests that personal characteristics of offenders, although not directly related to recidivism, may in fact interfere or hinder the ability for the program to “work.” This is referred to in the literature as the “responsivity principle.” This study seeks to understand the role that personal or responsivity characteristics of offenders play in whether these attitudes and distortions were reduced. This study found that although individual responsivity characteristics alone were not related to whether the program was successful, individuals with a combination of the important responsivity characteristics (e.g., low intelligence, low self-esteem, and history of sexual abuse) were less likely to benefit from the program. In fact, their cognitive distortions were often made worse. Thus, it may be that responsivity should be seen as having a cumulative effect. The more “issues” an offender has, the less likely the treatment will accomplish what it is “supposed to do”—which in this case was to reduce antisocial or cognitive distortions.
Hubbard, Dana Jones and Pealer, Jennifer, "The Importance of Responsivity Factors in Predicting Reductions in Antisocial Attitudes and Cognitive Distortions Among Adult Male Offenders" (2009). Sociology & Criminology Faculty Publications. 57.
Hubbard, D. J., , & Pealer, J. (2009). The Importance of Responsivity Factors in Predicting Reductions in Antisocial Attitudes and Cognitive Distortions Among Adult Male Offenders. The Prison Journal, 89(1), 79-98. doi:10.1177/0032885508329987