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Publication Date


Document Type



School for Social Work


Juvenile delinquents-Psychology, Teenage sex offenders-Psychology, Juvenile delinquency-Etiology, Psychic trauma in children, Anxiety in adolescence, Depression in adolescence, Trauma, Depression, Anxiety, Adolescent sexual offenders


Researchers have been trying to explain why some male adolescents become juvenile sexual offenders or juvenile delinquents. While there is no one formula that explains the full progression, many individual and comorbid factors have been identified which help to explain what happens for some of these adolescents. In this study I examined several areas of interest related to this process, specifically: a) Does childhood trauma predict current depression for male juvenile sexual offenders? (If so, do different types of trauma predict depressive affect better than others? Does extent of trauma exposure predict depression?), b) How does current depression relate to type and frequency of self reported delinquency for male juvenile sexual offenders?, and c) How does current mixed anxiety and depression explain the self reported degree of delinquency among adolescent male sex offenders? Method: Previously collected data of incarcerated male juvenile sexual offenders was analyzed (n= 379): a) Multiple regressions of types of trauma onto depression were conducted; b) Multiple regressions of depressive affect scores onto delinquency subscale scores were conducted; c) The sample was divided into four categories based on different levels of anxiety and depression, then mean scores between groups were compared using multiple ANOVAS. Results: a) Emotional abuse was the strongest predictor of depressive affect for this sample, and multiple exposures to trauma were the second strongest predictor. b) Depressive affect was most related to general delinquency, property damage, and public disorderly offenses and not to the characteristics of sexual crime. c) Both low anxiety groups had greater total delinquency scores, and both high depression groups had greater use of force during sexual acts. The high depression low anxiety group had the highest overall rates of delinquency and use of force.




iii, 105 p. Dissertation (Ph.D.)--Smith College School for Social Work, Northampton, Mass., 2012. Includes bibliographical references (p. 70-80)