Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

New study challenges stereotypes of adolescent sex offenders
American Psychological Association ^ | July 19, 2010 | Unknown

Posted on 07/19/2010 10:50:26 AM PDT by decimon

Analysis shows need for increased focus on sexuality, not social skills, in study and treatment of young sex offenders

WASHINGTON – Adolescent sex offenders are often stereotyped and treated as socially inept, but new research negates this image, finding that they are more likely to be characterized by atypical sexual interests -- such as desire for prepubescent children, coercive sex with peers and adults, and exposing their genitals to strangers. Adolescent sex offenders are also more likely to have a history of sexual abuse themselves, been exposed to sexual violence in their families, and experienced early exposure to sex or pornography.

"If you walked into a typical group treatment for adolescent sex offenders, you might notice a lot of focus on social skills, like how to approach a girl, how to deal with conflict and understanding non-verbal communication," said Michael C. Seto, PhD, lead author of the study. "Our research suggests that social skills training is not what young sex offenders need most in order to be rehabilitated. Discussing sexuality -- early exposure to sex or pornography, sexual fantasies, and sexual arousal -- would likely get us closer to understanding why the offenses were committed and prevent similar ones from being committed again."

Seto, of the Royal Ottawa Health Care Group, and Martin Lalumiere, PhD, of the University of Lethbridge in Alberta, Canada, conducted a meta-analysis of 59 independent studies comparing a total of 3,855 male adolescent sex offenders with 13,393 male adolescent non-sex offenders between ages 12 and 18. Their research is published in the July issue of Psychological Bulletin, published by the American Psychological Association.

Social incompetence is generally viewed as a typical characteristic of adolescent sex offenders -- a belief that influences treatment programs that emphasize teaching appropriate social skills. However, Seto's and Lalumiere's study found no significant difference between adolescent sex offenders and adolescent non-sex offenders in terms of social competence or social skills. This indicates that social incompetence does not help explain why some adolescents commit sex crimes rather than other kinds of crimes, and calls into question the prominent role that social skills training often plays in rehabilitation programs, they said. Other factors that are frequently cited as explanations for sexual offending but that were not supported in the study were family problems, including parent-child relationships; attitudes and beliefs about women or sexual offending; and whether the individual has had conventional sexual experiences.

The researchers found that atypical sexual interests seemed to be an important motivation for some adolescents who commit sexual offenses. Adolescent sex offenders were found to be more likely to have atypical sexual interests than other adolescent offenders. Seto suggests that discussions of sexuality need to happen more often and more openly in order to facilitate the identification of those who are at risk to become sex offenders and to facilitate their treatment. This shift can begin with more research about sexuality and sexual offenders.

"Researchers in the adolescent sex offender field have focused on sexual abuse history (more than half of the studies we reviewed reported data on this variable) but have paid relatively little attention to other aspects of sexuality, focusing instead on nonsexual factors (e.g., parent-child attachment, social skills deficits, psychopathology)," the authors wrote. "Our results suggest promising directions for research on the roles of exposure to sexual violence, exposure to sex or pornography more generally and atypical sexual interests."

While social skills were not a significant determinant of adolescent sexual offending, social isolation was an important factor. Seto and Lalumiere found that adolescent sex offenders had more feelings of social isolation and withdrawal than adolescent non-sex offenders.

"I speculate that feelings of social isolation among adolescent sex offenders come as a result of social norms and stigma that make it difficult to talk about sexual abuse history or sexual urges or fantasies that are outside of what is considered normal," Seto said. "If adolescents think they cannot talk about what they are thinking or feeling, then they cannot seek help and guidance. Encouraging more open dialogue about sexuality between young people and their parents, teachers and health care workers could be a key element in preventing adolescents from committing sexual offenses."

Although Seto and Lalumiere emphasized that most adolescents who are sexually abused do not become sex offenders, the study reconfirmed that there is some relationship between a history of sexual abuse and sexual offending. The data suggest that sexual abuse is associated with the likelihood that someone will commit a sexual offense for the first time, but they do not predict who is more likely to sexually reoffend once identified. This suggests that child abuse prevention activities, in addition to the important role of protecting children from abuse, can help prevent adolescent sexual offending.


Article: "What Is So Special About Male Adolescent Sexual Offending? A Review and Test of Explanations Through Meta-Analysis," Michael C. Seto, PhD, University of Ottawa Institute of Mental Health Research and Royal Ottawa Health Care Group, and Martin L. Lalumiere, PhD, University of Lethbridge; Psychological Bulletin, Vol.136, No. 4. (Full text of the article is available from the APA Public Affairs Office and at

The American Psychological Association, in Washington, D.C., is the largest scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the United States and is the world's largest association of psychologists. APA's membership includes more than 152,000 researchers, educators, clinicians, consultants and students. Through its divisions in 54 subfields of psychology and affiliations with 60 state, territorial and Canadian provincial associations, APA works to advance psychology as a science, as a profession and as a means of promoting health, education and human welfare.

TOPICS: Health/Medicine; Society
KEYWORDS: abstinence; ageofconsentlaws; apa; celebrateperversity; culturewar; itsjustsex; naughtyteacherslist; pornification; sexoffenders; sexpositiveagenda; statutoryrape; teensex

1 posted on 07/19/2010 10:50:28 AM PDT by decimon
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: decimon
new research negates this image, finding that they are more likely to be characterized by atypical sexual interests

Sex offenders have abnormal sexual desires. This shouldn't be news, but I guess it is.

Okay. What's the solution? Well, probably Therapy. Now, I'm not normally a big "therapy" person, but I think it's probably the best idea here. However, to make that work, you need to have an image of "normal sexual behavior" and then try to move the patient toward that goal.

And right there, the homosexual lobby will blow up this entire concept.

Abormal sexual desires??? There's no such thing!
Normal Sexual behavior??? It doesn't exist!
Get out of my bedroom!! And oh by the way, can NAMBLA have a parade permit for next Sunday? We're planning to march past the churches and scream expletives at them. Now, don't be a Hater and hold up that permit ... you stupid breeder!

2 posted on 07/19/2010 10:58:34 AM PDT by ClearCase_guy
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: decimon
No need to worry, folks. Obama's "Safe School Czar" is on the job!

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Obama's "Safe School Czar" Kevin
"use a condom" Jennings

From the Washington Times...

EDITORIAL: At the president's pleasure
'Safe school czar' encouraged child sex with an older man
September 28, 2009

A teacher was told by a 15-year-old high school sophomore that he was having homosexual sex with an "older man." At the very least, statutory rape occurred. Fox News reported that the teacher violated a state law requiring that he report the abuse. That former teacher, Kevin Jennings, is President Obama's "safe school czar". ..."

According to Mr. Jennings' own description in a new audiotape discovered by Fox News, the 15-year-old boy met the "older man" in a "bus station bathroom" and was taken to the older man's home that night...".

On the tape, Mr. Jennings recollected that he told the student to make sure "to use a condom" when he was with the older man. That he actively encouraged the relationship is reinforced by Mr. Jennings' own description in his 1994 book, "One Teacher in 10." In that account, the teacher boasts how he allayed the student's concerns about the relationship to such a degree that the 15-year-old "left my office with a smile on his face that I would see every time I saw him on the campus for the next two years, until he graduated." ...

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

3 posted on 07/19/2010 10:59:21 AM PDT by ETL (ALL (most?) of the Obama-commie connections at my FR Home page:
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: decimon


Why wouldn’t adolescent sex offenders be impulsive, sensation-seeking, violent egocentrists like any other thug, young or old?

Teaching them to talk to girls and not misunderstand signals - the therapeutic approach to criminality that works so well. /sarc

Glad there’s some sense out in the world of sociology/psychology/criminology.

4 posted on 07/19/2010 11:01:44 AM PDT by heartwood
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: decimon; wagglebee

The APA are the ones who said that homosexuality was normal. Their ranks were infiltrated by the lavender mafia long ago.

Welcome to the new amorality.

5 posted on 07/19/2010 11:03:41 AM PDT by a fool in paradise (I wish our president loved the US military as much as he loves Paul McCartney.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

"It's a wonderful day in the neighborhood!"

6 posted on 07/19/2010 12:25:00 PM PDT by decimon
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: ClearCase_guy; decimon; ETL
they are more likely to be characterized by atypical sexual interests

No $#!^, Sherlock! Offenders usually have a history of abuse: as the twig is bent, so grows the tree. That's why it's called a cycle of violence.

Of course, common sense is usually at odds with political correctness.

7 posted on 07/19/2010 2:29:16 PM PDT by mrreaganaut (Love is all we need. God is love.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794 is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson