Sexual offender recidivism revisited: a meta-analysis of recent treatment studies

J Consult Clin Psychol. 1995 Oct;63(5):802-9. doi: 10.1037//0022-006x.63.5.802.


Meta-analyses were performed on 12 studies of treatment with sexual offenders (N = 1,313). A small, but robust, overall effect size was found for treatment versus comparison conditions (r = .12). The overall recidivism rate for treated sexual offenders was .19 versus .27 for untreated sexual offenders. Treatment effect sizes across studies, however, were heterogeneous. Effect sizes were larger in studies that had higher base rates of recidivism, had follow-up periods longer than 5 years, included outpatients, and involved cognitive-behavioral or hormonal treatments. Cognitive-behavioral (p < .0005) and hormonal treatments (p < .00005) were significantly more effective than behavioral treatments but were not significantly different from each other.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis

MeSH terms

  • Androgen Antagonists / therapeutic use
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Recurrence
  • Sex Offenses / prevention & control*
  • Sex Offenses / psychology
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Androgen Antagonists