Date of Award


Publication Type

Doctoral Thesis

Degree Name





Psychology, Clinical.


Hibbard, S.




This study examined coping skills and experiences of childhood abuse and neglect in four groups of offenders (i.e., those who have committed Sexual (SO), Violent (VO), Violent and Sexual (VSO), and Other offences), and in two subgroups of sexual offenders (i.e., child molesters and perpetrators against peers/adults). The study also sought to determine whether coping skills predicted the severity of sexual offending, as gauged by the number of victims, the degree of victim-offender physical contact, and the variety of sexually abusive behaviours. Archival data on 471 adolescent males from two correctional facilities in Michigan were used. Coping was assessed using the Youth Coping Index, while abuse variables were assessed using the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire and the Sexual Abuse Exposure Questionnaire. Biased responding was controlled for using Paulhus's Social Desirability Index. Multiple regression analyses failed to detect a relationship between coping styles and the severity of sexual offending. SO and non-SO showed no differences in their reliance on masturbatory coping, but VO were more likely to use aggression as a means of coping than those who committed nonviolent offenses. A 2 x 2 MANCOVA found that experiences of childhood Sexual Abuse, Emotional Abuse and Neglect, Physical Abuse and Coping using Incendiary Communication and Tension Management were higher in SO than in those who committed non-sexual offences. Non-sexual offenders were more likely to report Coping using Positive Appraisal and Problem Solving. VO obtained higher scores on Physical Neglect and Coping using Incendiary Communication and Tension Management than those who committed non-violent offenses. Logistic regression analysis indicated that Sexual Abuse predicted SO status, and Physical Neglect and Coping using Incendiary Communication and Tension Management predicted VO status. Child molesters reported more experiences of Physical Neglect than perpetrators against peers/adults, but the two types of sexual offenders did not differ on the other predictors. The implications of these findings for clinical work and research are discussed.Dept. of Psychology. Paper copy at Leddy Library: Theses & Major Papers - Basement, West Bldg. / Call Number: Thesis2004 .U545. Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 66-02, Section: B, page: 1188. Adviser: Steve Hibbard. Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Windsor (Canada), 2004.