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Social Problem Solving and Offending: Evidence, Evaluation and Evolution

Mary McMurran (Editor), James McGuire (Editor)
ISBN: 978-0-470-86407-4
336 pages
September 2005
Social Problem Solving and Offending: Evidence, Evaluation and Evolution (0470864079) cover image


The evidence for social problem solving deficits being relevant to the understanding and treatment of offending behaviour has been accumulating since the 1980s. Reasoning and Rehabilitation (R&R), the first structured cognitive-behavioural treatment programme used widely with prisoners, included social problem solving as a key component and is now in use worldwide. More recently, interventions that focus specifically on social problem solving have recently been developed. Arranged in three parts (evidence, evaluation and evolution and exploration), this book draws together aetiological and therapeutic research evidence and practice over the last twenty years in social problem-solving with offenders.
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Table of Contents

About the Editors.

List of Contributors.

Series Editors’ Preface.




1. Social Problem Solving: Basic Concepts, Research, and Applications (James McGuire).

2. Social Problem Solving and the Development of Aggression (Liisa Keltikangas-Järvinen).

3. Social Problem Solving in Aggressive Children (Walter Matthys and John E. Lochman).

4. Social Problem Solving, Personality Disorder, and Substance Abuse (Laura E. Dreer, Warren T. Jackson, and Timothy R. Elliott).

5. Social Problem-Solving Deficits in Offenders (Daniel H. Antonowicz and Robert R. Ross).

6. Problem-Solving Therapy: Theory, Practice, and Application to Sex Offenders (Christine Maguth Nezu, Thomas J. D’Zurilla, and Arthur M. Nezu).


7. Social Problem-Solving Programs for Preventing Antisocial Behavior in Children and Youth (Friedrich Lösel and Andreas Beelmann)

8. The Development of Social Problem-Solving Interventions in Young Offender Mental Health Services: A Focus upon Self-Harm and Suicide Risk (Fiona H. Biggam and Kevin G. Power).

9. The Reasoning and Rehabilitation Program: Outcome Evaluations with Offenders (Daniel H. Antonowicz).

10. The Think First Programme (James McGuire).

11. Stop & Think! Social Problem-Solving Therapy with Personality-Disordered Offenders (Mary McMurran, Vincent Egan, and Conor Duggan).


12. Social Cognition and Sex Offenders (Theresa A. Gannon, Devon L.L. Polaschek, and Tony Ward).

13. Social Cognition in Psychopaths: Implications for Offender Assessment and Treatment (Ralph C. Serin and Shelley L. Brown).

14. Moral Reasoning (Robin Harvey).

15. Social Problem-Solving and Offending: Reflections and Directions (Mary McMurran).


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Author Information

Mary McMurran is consultant clinical and forensic psychologist at Llanarth Court Hospital, Wales, and Senior Research Fellow in the School of Psychology, Cardiff University. She has worked with offenders in a young offenders centre, a maximum-security psychiatric hospital, a regional secure unit, and in the community. In 1999, she was awarded a five-year Senior Baxter Research Fellowship by the National Health Service’s National Programme on Forensic Mental Health Research and Development. Her research interests are the assessment and treatment of intoxicated aggression, social problem-solving therapy for personality disordered offenders, and understanding and enhancing offenders’ motivation to change. She is the author, with Philip Priestley, of Addressing Substance-Related Offending (ASRO), an accredited group treatment programme used in HM Prison and Probation Services, and Control of Violence for Angry Impulsive Drinkers (COVAID), an individual treatment programme. She is a Fellow of the British Psychological Society and former Chair of the Society’s Division of Forensic Psychology. She is founding editor, with Sally Lloyd-Bostock, of the journal Legal & Criminological Psychology, and is joint editor of Criminal Behaviour and Mental Health. She is a former member of the Scottish Prison Service’s Offender Treatment Programme Accreditation Panel, and is currently a member of Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Services Correctional Services Accreditation Panel.

James McGuire is Professor of Forensic Clinical Psychology at the University of Liverpool, UK, Director of Studies for the Doctorate in Clinical Psychology programme, and an honorary consultant clinical psychologist in Mersey Care NHS Trust. A chartered clinical and forensic psychologist, he carries out psycholegal work involving assessment of offenders and has prepared reports on young offenders charged with offences of violence, for hearings of the Mental Health Review Tribunal on adults detained in secure hospitals, and for the Criminal Cases Review Commission. He has conducted research in prisons, probation services, and other settings on aspects of the effectiveness of treatment with offenders and allied topics. He has engaged in a range of consultative work with criminal justice agencies in the United Kingdom, Sweden, Canada, Australia and Hong Kong. He was co-organizer of the What Works series of conferences, and has written or edited 12 books and numerous other publications on this and related areas.

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"…this text offered a good introduction to the field of social problem solving,and would be recommended to practitioners working with offenders." (Applied Cognitive Psychology, February 2007)
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