Exploring Risk and Protective Factors for Juvenile Sexually Abusive Behavior: Violence Exposure As a Pathway to Delinquency, and the Relationships Between Family Service Engagement, School-Based Factors, and Treatment Outcomes
Symposium theme: In this symposium, we investigated the associations among risk and protective that were hypothesized to contribute to sexual and nonsexual crimes and factors that were associated with treatment outcomes. The first study investigated violence exposure as a pathway to delinquency and includes the use of self-report measures administered to residentially-based male sexually abusive youth (N= 322). Probation file reviews of youth adjudicated of a sex offense (N=85) were conducted in the two subsequent studies investigating family service involvement and school-based protective factors. Advanced statistical models were used: path analysis, sequential logistic regression, and multivariate logistic regression were used to test theoretical models that attempted to explain causal relationships among constructs related to sexual offending.
In the first paper, the final model revealed that the path from violence exposure to delinquency was directly mediated by physical neglect (p ≤ 0.001). In the second paper, youth with greater family service involvement were three times more likely to successfully complete treatment (OR = 3.1, p < .001), but no associations with recidivism were found. In the third paper, youth with school-based protective factors were three times more likely to complete treatment than youth without protective factors (OR = 3.2, p < .01), controlling for the significant influence of school-based risk factors (OR = .41; p< .05).
In terms of social work and practice policy, the fact that juveniles constitute more than one-third of those who commit sexual offenses against minors underscores the need for sexual abuse prevention and treatment efforts that target the risks and needs of these youthful offenders, and incorporate protective factors.