Self-Reported Methods of Cessation of Adult Male Child Abusers: A Pilot Study


  • Part of this article is based on a master's thesis written by the first author at Smith College School for Social Work.
  • The authors extend appreciation to the study participants. The authors acknowledge Wayne Bowers, Director, Sexual Abuse Treatment Alliance, and Michael Lee, SATA volunteer, who worked on this project as part of his MSW program at Michigan State University, for their help and guidance. The authors also thank Lee for interfacing with SATA members leading to the development of the measures for cessation. The authors thank Kerry Jo Duty and Sarah Jane Frankel for help with assembly and survey handling, Anne Burton for data entry, and the Smith College School for Social Work thesis coordinator, Jean La Terz, and Joanne Corbin, chair of the Research Sequence, for supporting this project. Finally, appreciation is offered to William Birdsall and Franca Cortoni for their feedback on earlier drafts of this article and to Caroline Robertson, Adam Brown, Sophia Demuynck, and Rosa Town.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to David Burton, Smith College School for Social Work, Lilly Hall, Northampton, MA 01063. Electronic mail may be sent to


This pilot study explored the pre-arrest self-selected cessation attempts of sexual offenders (N = 109) who abused children and often others. Four participants were dropped because of invalid responding (N = 104). While 74.3% of sample participants reported attempts to decrease or stop their sexual offending prior to arrest, 56% out of 100 who responded to the cessation question reported that they were able to do so. Self-efficacy was examined as a potential predictive variable of cessation attempts and success of attempts; however, no relationship was found between self-efficacy and attempts. Practice and research implications are discussed.