Type of Document Dissertation Author Wolf, Amanda Lee Author's Email Address firstname.lastname@example.org URN etd-10312008-181517 Title Differentiating Two Types of Juvenile Sex Offenders: Generalists versus Specialists Degree Doctor of Philosophy Department Educational Psychology and Learning Systems, Department of Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title Donald "Francis" Kelly Committee Chair Beth Phillips Committee Member Steven Pfeiffer Committee Member Ann Mullis Outside Committee Member Keywords
- Juvenile Sex Offenders
Date of Defense 2008-10-23 Availability unrestricted AbstractThe purpose of the present study is to explore various risk factors which may potentially be used to predict and distinguish two subtypes of juvenile sexual offenders (JSOs): (1) juvenile sexual offenders with a history of antisocial behavior (JSO- generalists) and (2) juvenile sexual offenders without a history of antisocial behavior (JSO-specialists). The overall goal of this study was to fill a gap in the research by providing empirical support for two different developmental pathways that may lead to juvenile sexual problem behaviors. Although several theories have been proposed, the etiology and developmental pathways of sexual offending behavior in juveniles remains unclear (Parks & Bard, 2006). Consequently, predictive factors and differences among subgroups of juvenile sexual offenders remain inconclusive.
Logistic Regression was used to examine the relationship between the categorical dependent variable of history of antisocial behavior (present or absent) and several risk factors associated with sexual recidivism. Potential covariates were screened and entered into the model, if significant. Descriptive statistics were also used to describe background characteristics. The developmental model of sexual aggression proposed by Seto and Barbaree (1997) describes at least two types of sex offenders; the first type described as persistently antisocial with the second type being described as less antisocial, but more likely to demonstrate deviant sexual interests. In addition to providing empirical support for different developmental pathways of sexual aggression, identifying different risk factors among these two types of offenders will provide significant implications for the treatment and assessment of juvenile sexual offenders.
The current study sought to answer the following research questions:
1) Is there an overall relationship between the outcome variable--group membership based on history of antisocial behavior (JSO-specialist vs. JSO-generalist) and the predictor variables: single-parent home, use of physical force or threats, child victim, male victim, sexual victimization history, exposure or experience of domestic violence, lack of empathy, and lack of remorse, after controlling for history of ADHD, failed/held back status, and ESE/SLD class enrollment?
2) Which predictor variable(s) predict group membership based on history of antisocial behavior? If significant, how does the predictor variable(s) affect group membership?
Based on a review of the literature, it was predicted the risk factors: use of threats or force during the offense, lack of empathy, lack of remorse, exposure or experience of domestic violence, and single-parent home would be significant predictors of JSO-generalist group membership. Where as, it was predicted that the risk factors of sexual victimization history, having a male victim, and having a child victim, would be significant predictors of JSO-specialist group membership. History of ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), held back/failed status, and enrollment in ESE or SLD classes were screened as potential confounds based on prior research linking ADHD and academic difficulties with antisocial behavior (e.g., Lahey & Loeber, 1997). In addition, it was suspected that group differences in intellectual ability could potentially impact the variables of lack of empathy and lack of remorse due to differences in stages of moral development.
The omnibus model was a significant predictor of group membership (JSO-specialist vs. JSO-generalist). However, there was not a significant increase in the effect size from model 1 to model 2. In other words, the predictors were unable to significantly increase the prediction beyond what was already accounted for by the covariates. Looking at the individual impact of each of the predictors, the coefficients indicate that lack of empathy was a significant positive predictor of history of antisocial behavior after controlling for ADHD, ever held back/failed status and enrollment in ESE/SLD classes.
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