The researchers in this UK study set out to look at empathy in sex offenders with learning disabilities, with a view to exploring the differences between this group and non offenders with learning disabilities. They used specific measures of the components of empathy. They compared the scores of 21 sex-offenders and 21 non-offenders with learning disabilities.
The two groups were matched for age, gender and IQ. The measure used was the Test of Emotional Perception.
The results suggested no differences between the two groups across the components of empathy. They did find though that those in the sex offenders group who had received treatment performed better on tasks of emotion recognition, emotion replication and response decision than those in the non-offender group.
The authors conclude from this brief study that further research is needed before any firm recommendations regarding treatment can be made.
Assessing Components of Empathy in Sex- Offenders with Intellectual Disabilities, Ralfs S & Bealil N in Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities, 25: 50–59.