Project Title

A brief characteristic analysis of a small sample of female youth who have engaged in sexually abusive behaviors

Authors' Affiliations

Kristin Mahan, Department of Psychology, College of Arts and Sciences, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, TN. Jill Stinson, Department of Psychology, College of Arts and Sciences, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, TN.

Faculty Sponsor’s Department

Psychology

Type

Oral Competitive

Classification of First Author

Graduate Student-Doctoral

Project's Category

Psychology

Abstract Text

Female adolescents who engage in sexually abusive behaviors are an understudied population not well represented in the broader literature describing persons who have committed sexual offenses. Much of what is known related to etiology and important predictors of sexual crime is drawn from adult and male populations. However, there are potential differences that may have implications for prevention and treatment. For example, factors like offense characteristics and sexual boundaries in the home vary among male and female juveniles who sexually offend. By analyzing differences and patterns in sexual offending behaviors at younger ages, we can expand upon knowledge for future offense prevention among similar individuals.

In the current study, we examined characteristics of a sample of five female adolescents receiving outpatient treatment for sexually abusive behaviors in comparison with empirical findings related to adult female sexual offenders and a sample of male adolescents receiving residential treatment for sexually abusive behavior. We hypothesized that females in the sample will evidence a history of poorer sexual boundaries in the home and a greater likelihood of sexual abuse victimization than males. We also predicted that females in the sample would have younger, more male, and fewer stranger sexual abuse victims than the males in the sample.

Data are archival in nature and were obtained from an adolescent facility providing residential and outpatient sex offender treatment services. Variables related to offense characteristics include those describing frequency and onset of offending, offense types, and victim features. For sexual boundaries in the home, we examined a range of variables describing sexual abuse, sexual behaviors, and pornography use/exposure within the youth’s home of origin. While our sample of female adolescents who have engaged in sexually abusive behavior is small, such information can move us closer to understanding important contributors to the perpetration of sexual violence in this unique population.

The first hypothesis on sexual boundaries in the home was supported. We found that all females in the sample experienced poor sexual boundaries in the home, compared to approximately 68% of males. Similarly, all females reported sexual abuse victimization and 61% of males reported sexual abuse victimization.

The second hypothesis on crime characteristics was supported. Victim characteristics varied between genders, with all victims of females who engaged in sexually abusive behaviors being between the ages of 5 and 9. Male victims varied between ages 0 and 30, with most falling between ages 5 and 9. Approximately 80% of females had offended against a male while about 60% of the males had offended against a male. No females offended against a stranger, though approximately 5% of males did.

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A brief characteristic analysis of a small sample of female youth who have engaged in sexually abusive behaviors

Female adolescents who engage in sexually abusive behaviors are an understudied population not well represented in the broader literature describing persons who have committed sexual offenses. Much of what is known related to etiology and important predictors of sexual crime is drawn from adult and male populations. However, there are potential differences that may have implications for prevention and treatment. For example, factors like offense characteristics and sexual boundaries in the home vary among male and female juveniles who sexually offend. By analyzing differences and patterns in sexual offending behaviors at younger ages, we can expand upon knowledge for future offense prevention among similar individuals.

In the current study, we examined characteristics of a sample of five female adolescents receiving outpatient treatment for sexually abusive behaviors in comparison with empirical findings related to adult female sexual offenders and a sample of male adolescents receiving residential treatment for sexually abusive behavior. We hypothesized that females in the sample will evidence a history of poorer sexual boundaries in the home and a greater likelihood of sexual abuse victimization than males. We also predicted that females in the sample would have younger, more male, and fewer stranger sexual abuse victims than the males in the sample.

Data are archival in nature and were obtained from an adolescent facility providing residential and outpatient sex offender treatment services. Variables related to offense characteristics include those describing frequency and onset of offending, offense types, and victim features. For sexual boundaries in the home, we examined a range of variables describing sexual abuse, sexual behaviors, and pornography use/exposure within the youth’s home of origin. While our sample of female adolescents who have engaged in sexually abusive behavior is small, such information can move us closer to understanding important contributors to the perpetration of sexual violence in this unique population.

The first hypothesis on sexual boundaries in the home was supported. We found that all females in the sample experienced poor sexual boundaries in the home, compared to approximately 68% of males. Similarly, all females reported sexual abuse victimization and 61% of males reported sexual abuse victimization.

The second hypothesis on crime characteristics was supported. Victim characteristics varied between genders, with all victims of females who engaged in sexually abusive behaviors being between the ages of 5 and 9. Male victims varied between ages 0 and 30, with most falling between ages 5 and 9. Approximately 80% of females had offended against a male while about 60% of the males had offended against a male. No females offended against a stranger, though approximately 5% of males did.

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