Impact of Childhood Adversity and Out-of-Home Placement for Male Adolescents Who Have Engaged in Sexually Abusive Behavior

Document Type


Publication Date



Child maltreatment and household dysfunction have long been linked to delinquency, adult criminality, and sexual offending. However, the association between adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), factors related to out-of-home placement, and the onset of maladaptive behaviors has not thoroughly been explored in adolescents who have engaged in sexually abusive behavior. In the present study, we examined archival records of 120 male youths who have received treatment for sexually abusive behavior. As expected, the male adolescents in this sample have experienced higher rates of ACEs than samples of adult males in the community, adult males who committed sexual offenses, and juvenile justice–involved males as reported in the literature. Discrete-time survival analyses yielded increased risks of onset of aggression and sexually abusive behavior during early childhood and mid-to-late childhood, with significant associations between higher ACE scores and a greater number of out-of-home placements. Implications and future directions are discussed.