Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Committee Chair(s)

Elwin C. Nielsen


Elwin C. Nielsen


Carolyn Barcus


Juvenile sexual offenders and a matched sample of nonoffending youth were compared on the Family Environment Scale (FES), the Family Adaptability and Cohesion Evaluation Scales (FACES ill), the Adult Adolescent Parent Inventory (AAPI), and a biographical inventory. The purpose was to determine whether or not juvenile sexual offenders and nonoffenders would prove to have different perceptions of family characteristics and whether the biographical inventory could distinguish between the two groups. "The sample consisted of 95 participants (46 offenders, 49 nonoffenders) in the northern Utah area. The offending population were in outpatient treatment for their sexual offending.

When the participants were categorized as offender/ nonoffender and 12-15 year olds/ 16-19 year olds, only an age effect was found to be significant on the variables cohesiveness, cohesion, and conflict. Offender group membership did not have any effect. Younger adolescents viewed their family environment as more cohesive and felt more freedom to express anger and dissent.

Significant differences were found between offenders with multiple victims and all other groups on two AAPI variables: inappropriate developmental expectations of children and lack of empathic awareness of children.

The discriminant function analysis of the biographical inventory items yielded a 90% correct classification rate on participants cooed as either offender or nonoffender. Only eight biographical items were used in this procedure. It is clear that, of the four instruments used in this study, the biographical inventory provided the best descriptive profile of the juvenile sexual offenders.

Offenders reported more instability in their home-life and lack of positive emotional relationships with their caretakers. The perception of diminished humanness in relationships went hand in hand with victimizing others. One can conclude that family environment remains an important factor to consider in the development and treatment of sexually abusive behavior.



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