Moral Judgment of Young Sex Offenders with and without Intellectual Disabilities

E.S. van Vugt, J.J. Asscher, J. Hendriks, G.J. Stams, C.C.J.H. Bijleveld, P.H. van der Laan

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This study examined differences in moral judgment between juvenile sex offenders with and without intellectual disabilities. The Sociomoral Reflection Measure-Short Form (SRM-SF) was used to assess moral judgment, and was extended with questions referring to general sexual situations and to the offenders' abuse victim(s). Juvenile sex offenders with and without ID significantly differed in moral judgment stage regarding general life, sexual and own abuse victim situations. Juvenile sex offenders with ID generally showed stage 2 moral reasoning, which indicated that their justifications for moral decisions were dominated by instrumental and pragmatic reciprocity, whereas juvenile sex offenders without ID used reasons and justifications representing transitional moral stage 2/3 moral judgment, indicating that the maintenance of interpersonal relationships was considered to a certain extent in their justifications for moral decisions. Future research should examine to what extent moral judgment of offenders with ID should be targeted in treatment. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2841-2846
Number of pages6
JournalResearch in Developmental Disabilities
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2011


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