McNair Scholars Research Journal


The stigmatization of individuals with a pedophilic orientation prompts maladaptive functioning in several domains and is associated with deleterious effects in the realm of child sexual abuse (CSA), most notably an increased risk of committing a sexual offense. A growing body of research has examined interventions aimed at reducing pedophilic stigmatization thereby increasing treatment utilization and early intervention. The present study serves as an extension of previous research conducted by Harper and colleagues and evaluates the impact of two interventions (narrative humanization and informative material) on university students’ explicit attitudes toward pedophilic-oriented individuals, as compared to a control condition. Participants completed a series of baseline measures, followed by exposure to either an intervention or the control condition. The Moral Disengagement Towards Sexual Offenders Scale (MDS-SO) and Stigma and Punitive Attitudes Toward Pedophiles Scale (SPS) were readministered to assess changes in explicitly conveyed views toward individuals with a pedophilic orientation among all groups. It was hypothesized that both interventions will significantly reduce negative perceptions of individuals with a pedophilic orientation, but that narrative humanization will exhibit a greater effect size. Preliminary results reveal stigma-reducing effects of both interventions. Still, a larger sample size is required to confidently conduct comprehensive inferential statistical analysis. Future directions for research and societal implications are discussed.