Date of Award


Publication Type

Doctoral Thesis

Degree Name





Psychology, Clinical.




The purpose of this study was to examine social isolation, social competency skills and areas of problem behaviours in non-incarcerated adolescent males who have committed sexual offenses against children and compare them to two groups of non-offending adolescent males. The comparison groups were made up of: (1) Boys in outpatient treatment for a variety of emotional and behavioural difficulties and (2) Boys from two large community churches with no history of outpatient psychological treatment. Adolescent sexual offenders and clinic treatment participants reported a higher incidence of emotional and behavioural difficulties than the community control group. Included in this were reports of academic and behavioural difficulties in school and a large number of special education placements in the two groups. In comparison to the clinic treatment group, sexual offenders were also found to have significantly higher rates of actual or suspected physical and/or sexual victimization. Although overall measures of social isolation and social competency skills did not reveal significant differences between the sexual offenders and the two comparison groups, specific item analyses did indicate some significant signs of isolation and withdrawal in the offender group. Item analyses also provided evidence that problem behaviours are likely underreported by sexual offenders on self-report measures due to apparent defensiveness and denial in these individuals. Overall, the sexual offender and clinic treatment groups scored more similarly on the measures of problem behaviours than either group did with the community group. An additional finding in the study was that of large differences between groups in parental involvement in the study. Thirty-five percent of the parents in the sexual offender group failed to return the questionnaires after agreeing to participate in the study. Two trends were found in families who failed to complete the study: disbelief or denial of the child's guilt in committing the offense and a history of incestuous relationships in the child's home. Further investigation of these elements could provide more evidence in regard to the importance of parental commitment and cooperation in treating adolescent sexual offenders and the implications for treatment success.Dept. of Psychology. Paper copy at Leddy Library: Theses & Major Papers - Basement, West Bldg. / Call Number: Thesis1990 .R684. Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 52-11, Section: B, page: 6096. Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Windsor (Canada), 1989.