Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Family Consumer Human Development

Committee Chair(s)

Thorana S. Nelson


Thorana S. Nelson


Scot M. Allgood


Kevin N. Barlow


The study and treatment of juvenile sex offenders (JSOs) has been steadily growing since its separation from the adult sex offender category in the early 1980s. Although many studies concern themselves with one specific research variable, this study looked at the presence of twelve characteristics historically associated with JSOs: sexual abuse, early exposure to sexuality, conduct disorder problems, exposure to crime in the family of origin, personal substance abuse, family substance abuse, school performance difficulties, school behavior problems, mental health difficulties, social skills deficits, changes in family structure, and nonsexual forms of abuse. This was an effort to see if these factors are consistent in a Northern Utah sex offender treatment facility with existing literature and if any correlations of significance exist among these variables. Data were drawn from the initial assessments of 124 clients between two centers of the Youthtrack-Utah Juvenile Sexual Offender Level-Six Residential Treatment Program through the years of 1998-2007. Results indicated that the frequencies of the factors are indeed consistent with previous studies and literature in terms of their presence among the study JSOs. There were several significant differences between facilities (mental health difficulties and social skills deficits) and multiple correlations existing among variables (frequent family structure changes, school behavior problems, family substance abuse correlating with the most variables). Suggestions for future research include utilizing greater specificity as to how the variables are defined and utilizing the whole client file as a data source. Comparisons of the entire data file with the initial assessment might be useful, looking for initial assessment accuracy in reference to the presence of these variables in a juvenile sex offender’s history. In addition, it is suggested that future studies utilize samples that include all levels of juvenile sex offender treatment, rather than exclusively level six. (122 pages)