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Role Conflicts in Management of Sexual Offenders

Activity Type:

  • On Demand

Release Date: 7/1/2017

Expiration Date: 2/1/2020

  • AMA PRA Category 1 Physician: 1.25
  • Participation: 1.25



The psychiatric assessment of sexual offenders presents complex ethical and philosophical challenges, offering, on one hand, the potential to assist in the rehabilitation of offenders and reduce the risk for future offending and prevention of harm to potential victims, while on the other, the risk of criticism for medicalizing social deviance or acting as agents of social control. Additionally, separating mental disorder from social deviance is complicated by diagnostic categories containing value judgments as opposed to medical criteria, limited availability of standardized assessment procedures and criteria, and limitations in confidentiality restricting access to psychological phenomena. Risk assessment for non-treatment purposes, in light of the potential harm that may result to the evaluee, also presents both scientific and ethical dilemmas. Despite the general prohibition of combining treatment and forensic roles, the treatment of sexual offenders often leads to psychiatrists managing the dual agency of being both treater and evaluator for parole boards or sexually violent predator (SVP) procedures. 

**This content was captured at the 2016 APA Annual Meeting and may reference information from various sources and terminology from previous editions of the DSM. 


  • General Member - $15.63
  • Resident-Fellow Member - Free
  • Medical Student Member - $15.63
  • Non-Member - $31.25

Educational Objectives

  • explain the distinction between social deviance and mental disorder 
  • review literature on the effectiveness of sex offender treatment programs 
  • describe the role and ethical conflicts of psychiatrists in the treatment of sexual offenders and how to manage these conflicts

Target Audience

Psychiatrists, Resident/Fellows

Estimated Time to Complete

Estimated Duration: 1 hour and 15 minutes
Begin Date: July 1, 2017
End Date: February 1, 2020

How to Earn Credit

Participants who wish to earn AMA PRA Category 1 Credit ™ or a certificate of participation may do so by completing all sections of the course including the evaluation. A multiple choice quiz is provided based on the content. A passing score of 50% must be achieved. Retakes are available for the test. After evaluating the program, course participants will be provided with an opportunity to claim hours of participation and print an official CME certificate (physicians) or certificate of participation (non-physicians) showing the event date and hours earned. 

Continuing Education Credit

The American Psychiatric Association (APA) is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The APA designates this enduring CME activity for a maximum of 1.25 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

Faculty and Planner Disclosures


  • Roy J. O’Shaughnessy, M.D., The University of British Columbia. Reports no financial relationships with commercial interests. 

Program Planners

  • Tristan Gorrindo, M.D., Director of Education, American Psychiatric Association. Reports no financial relationships with commercial interests. 
  • Stanley Lyndon, M.D., Medical College of Wisconsin. Reports no financial relationships with commercial interests. 
  • Ricardo A. Juarez, M.S., Deputy Director, Development and Engagement, American Psychiatric Association. Reports no financial relationships with commercial interests. 
  • Claire Van Wagner, Membership Development Coordinator, American Psychiatric Association. Reports no financial relationships with commercial interests. 

Hardware/Software Requirements

This internet-based CME activity is best experienced using Internet Explorer 8+, Mozilla Firefox 3+, Safari 4+. This Web site requires that JavaScript and session cookies be enabled. Certain activities may require additional software to view multimedia, presentation, or printable versions of the content. These activities will be marked as such and will provide links to the required software. That software may be: Adobe Flash, Adobe Acrobat, Microsoft PowerPoint, and Windows Media Player.

Optimal System Configuration:

  • Flash Player: Adobe Flash Player 10.3+ 
  • Browser: Firefox (latest version), Internet Explorer 8.0+, Safari 7.0+, Microsoft Edge (latest version) or Google Chrome (latest version)
  • Operating System: Windows XP+ or Mac OS X 10.4+ 
  • Internet Connection: 1 Mbps or higher

Minimum Requirements:

  • Windows PC: 500-MHz Pentium II; Windows XP or higher; 128 MB RAM; Video Card at least 64MB of video memory; Macromedia Flash Player 10.3 or higher; Sound Card at least 16-bit; audio playback with speakers for programs with video content
  • Macintosh:Mac OS X 10.4+ or higher with latest updates installed; 1.83MHz Intel Core Duo or faster; RAM: 128MB or more; Video Card: at least 64MB of video memory; Sound Card: at least 16-bit; audio playback with speakers for programs with video content

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