Purpose: Problems in emotional functioning have been identified as a risk factor for both sexual and violent offending, yet the precise pattern of impairment in emotional functioning that is experienced by sexual and violent offenders remains unclear. Methods: In this study, we examined self-reported difficulties in emotion regulation, the use of different strategies for regulating emotions, levels of trait alexithymia, and dispositional mindfulness in men with a history of sexual offending, non-sexual violent offending, homicide, and community controls. Results: A comparison between these groups showed that while sexual offenders had some circumscribed difficulties in emotional nonacceptance, violent offenders showed more generalized problems in emotional nonacceptance, alexithymia, and mindfulness. In contrast, homicide offenders reported few difficulties compared with other offender groups. Conclusions: Our results have implications for the allocation of individuals to treatment modules aimed at improving emotion regulation to reduce negative affect and offending behavior.
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