First Advisor

Keith Kaufman

Term of Graduation

Fall 2020

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Applied Psychology






Male caregivers, Fathers and sons, Teenage sex offenders -- Family relationships -- Psychological aspects, Juvenile delinquents -- Family relationships -- Psychological aspects, Aggressiveness



Physical Description

1 online resource (vi, 155 pages)


This dissertation presents three manuscripts exploring the impact of caregivers, particularly male caregivers, on the development of juvenile sexual offending behavior. The first manuscript investigated the role of disrupted caregiving for juvenile sexual offenders compared to non-offending juveniles and youth who committed non-sexual crimes. The results indicated that juvenile sexual offenders have particularly poor relationships with their primary caregivers, especially if their primary caregiver was male. The second manuscript is a systematic literature review that explored the pathways through which male caregivers may influence the sexually aggressive behavior of their sons. A total of thirty-four articles describing three pathways (i.e., direct transmission of offending, father-son relationships, and paternal socio-emotional characteristics) revealed having a sexually aggressive father dramatically increases the risk that the son will also engage in sexual offending. Poor father-son relationship quality also significantly increased the chance of the son becoming sexually aggressive. Finally, the third study tested an integrated model of paternal caregiving risk factors that may predict juvenile engagement in sexually aggressive behaviors. Results again indicated that abusive paternal parenting is more predictive of juvenile sexual offending than is witnessing a father act violently or nonbiological paternal caregiving. Overall, the three manuscripts aim to enhance our understanding of the impacts of early caregiving experiences for young sexual offenders and highlights prevention and treatment implications by engaging male caregivers.


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