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An evaluation of strength-based approaches to the treatment of sex offenders: a review

William L. Marshall (Rockwood Psychological Services, Kingston, Canada)
Liam E. Marshall (Waypoint Centre for Mental Health Care, Penetanguishene, Canada)
Mark E. Olver (Department of Psychology, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Canada)

Journal of Criminal Psychology

ISSN: 2009-3829

Article publication date: 7 August 2017




The purpose of this paper is to note the basis for the emergence of strength-based approaches (SBA) to the treatment of sex offenders and point to Tony Ward’s Good Lives Model (GLM) as the impetus for these developments.


Next, the authors outline the elements of the GLM and of other SBAs. The features of various ways to evaluate treatment programs are discussed and this is followed by an examination of the evidence bearing on the value of the GLM and other SBAs.


The authors note that the effects of the GLM are limited to within treatment indices as, to date, there are no long-term outcome evaluations of the model on reducing recidivism. Indeed, there appears to be only one such study of an alternative SBA program.


The authors conclude that additional outcome studies are needed to evaluate the utility of the switch away from deficit-focused approaches to strength-based models of treatment.



Marshall, W.L., Marshall, L.E. and Olver, M.E. (2017), "An evaluation of strength-based approaches to the treatment of sex offenders: a review", Journal of Criminal Psychology, Vol. 7 No. 3, pp. 221-228.



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