School for Social Work
This thesis project contains three separate articles that are new areas of investigation in the juvenile sex-offending field. The data comes from 332 adjudicated juvenile sex offenders and 179 non-sex offending delinquents in six residential facilities in a Midwestern state who participated in an anonymous cross-sectional study. The first article is an exploratory study that investigates family reaction to disclosure of childhood sexual abuse among juvenile sex offenders and their subsequent psychological functioning. The findings suggest that negative reaction to disclosure of CSA impacts sex offending behavior, family environment and psychological functioning. The second article is a descriptive study that explores exposure to community and family violence among sex offenders and non-sex offending delinquents. Juvenile sex offenders were found to have high rates of exposure to community and family violence and had significantly more exposure to many of the community and family violence variables studied than non-sex offending delinquents. Family violence was also found to strongly predict the group membership of juvenile sex offenders (85%). The third article is a comparative study of traumatic experiences and engagement in non-sexual crime among juvenile sex offenders and non-sex offending delinquents. Juvenile sex offenders were found to engage more often in many different types of non-sexual crime than non-sex offending delinquents. Physical neglect was found to be the only predictor of engagement in non-sexual criminal behavior for both juvenile sex offenders and non-sex offending delinquents. Research and practice implications are discussed.
Despres, Hillary Blythe, "Three independent investigations on disclosure of childhood sexual abuse and psychological functioning, family and community violence, and trauma and non-sexual crime" (2007). Masters Thesis, Smith College, Northampton, MA.