Societal stigmatisation and punitive drive towards paedophiles contribute to a fear of discovery. This may contribute to social and emotional deficits associated with offending propensity. Recent research has considered narrative humanisation as an anti-stigma intervention, aiming to improve societal attitudes towards paedophiles. This may reduce fear of discovery, increasing help-seeking behaviour, and reduce offending propensity amongst paedophiles. Stigma is composed of cognitive, affective and behavioural attitudes. However, the influence of narrative humanisation on behavioural attitudes has yet to be assessed in research, such research is also limited to student populations. Therefore, this study considered the influence of narrative humanisation on behavioural attitudes in addition to cognitive and affective attitudes amongst both students and non-students.
An online questionnaire design was used to assess cognitive and affective attitudes, additionally utilising a charitable money-giving task to assess behavioural attitudes. 76 participants were recruited via social media with a relatively even split amongst students (n = 40) and non-students (n = 36). The influence of narrative humanisation was compared to an informative scientific alternative.
Narrative humanisation only improved punitive attitudes towards paedophiles amongst non-students. Therefore, narrative humanisation had no influence on all remaining cognitive, affective and behavioural attitudes towards paedophiles, irrespective of student-status.
These findings were attributed to a lack of controlled environment for participation compared to alternate research on narrative humanisation. Future research should consider the impact of environment on narrative humanisation interventions, as the benefits of intervention may require full engagement.
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