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Journal of Sexual Aggression

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Caregivers, Teenage sex offenders -- Family relationships -- Psychological aspects


Research that attempts to understand why young people commit sex crimes points to an array of family factors that may uniquely contribute to sexual offending over general juvenile delinquency. This study examines the potentially moderating role of disrupted caregiving in the relationship between offending and caregiver-child relationship quality. Two distinct moderators were tested: gender of caregiver and biological relationship between caregiver and child. Results indicate that juvenile sexual offenders have particularly poor relationships with their primary caregivers compared to incarcerated non-sexual offenders and community controls. Furthermore, sexual offenders with male caregivers were found to have lower relationship quality scores than sexual offenders with female caregivers. In contrast, sexual offenders raised by non-biological caregivers reported better relationship quality than did offenders raised by their biological parents. These findings suggest opportunities for early intervention, before caregiving is disrupted.


© 2019 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (http://, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way.



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