Date of Award:

1998

Document Type:

Dissertation

Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department:

Psychology

Advisor/Chair:

Frank R. Ascione

Abstract

The primary purpose of this study was to examine and compare physically and sexually violent juvenile offenders (PVJOs and SVJOs) to determine whether specific factors in their abuse histories, if present, tend to be associated with-the type of violent offense pattern they exhibit. The Youth Experiences and Behaviors Structured Interview (YEBSI)--an instrument which assesses for primary (victimization), secondary (witnessing), and perpetrated abuse of an emotional, physical, and sexual nature, by and/or toward family members, acquaintances, strangers, and animals--was developed by the primary researcher for use in this study. Thirty-six PVJOs and 30 SVJOs were interviewed. Results indicated that the YEBSI demonstrated high levels of internal consistency reliability and a very high level of interrater reliability. Various descriptive statistical, scale, and subscale correlations for the YEBSI were provided.

Very high percentages of both groups reported experiencing and witnessing all types of abuse. In all cases, a similar or larger percentage of SVJOs reported histories of primary and secondary abuse. SVJOs reported more severe levels of emotional abuse, similar severity levels of physical abuse, and less extremely severe levels of sexual abuse than did PVJOs. Family members and acquaintances (as compared to strangers) tended to be far more frequently reported as perpetrators by respondents. Composite primary and secondary abuse scores were moderately correlated with abuse perpetration scores for SVJOs and strongly correlated with abuse perpetration scores for PVJOs. For emotional, family, acquaintance, and stranger abuse, reported primary-secondary abuse scores were found to be most highly correlated with abuse perpetration scores of the same nature (e.g., emotional abuse history-witness scores best correlated with physical abuse perpetration scores and family abuse history-witness scores best correlated with perpetration scores against family members) Finally, the classification variables correctly predicted 75% of those in the physically violent group and 67% of those in the sexually violent group, with an overall "hit" rate of 71%. Examination of the discriminant function-variable correlations in this study indicates that it was primarily the emotional, family-perpetrated, and sexual abuse subscales that defined the function. Theoretical interpretations and implications for these results are provided.

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Psychology Commons

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