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What makes a difference? Evaluating the key distinctions and predictors of sexual and non-sexual offending among male and female juvenile offenders

Bryanna Fox (Department of Criminology, University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida, USA) (Department of Mental Health Law & Policy, College of Behavioral & Community Sciences, University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida, USA)

Journal of Criminal Psychology

ISSN: 2009-3829

Article publication date: 2 May 2017

992

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the ability of a comprehensive set of covariates to distinguish and predict juvenile sex offenders (JSOs) from non-sexual juvenile offenders (NSJOs) using demographic traits, criminality covariates, childhood trauma, and psychopathologies in a sample of male and female juvenile offenders in the USA.

Design/methodology/approach

A multivariate binary logistic regression will be conducted on a total of 64,329 juvenile offenders in Florida to determine what demographic, criminal history, childhood traumas, and psychopathologies make a difference in identifying sexual and NSJOs while controlling for the other key predictors in the model.

Findings

Results indicate that having an earlier age of criminal onset and more felony arrests, experiencing sexual abuse or being male, having low empathy, high impulsivity, depression, and psychosis all significantly increase the risk of sexual vs non-sexual offending among the male and female juvenile offenders, even while controlling for all other key covariates in the analysis.

Originality/value

This study uncovered many new findings regarding the key distinguishing traits of juvenile sex offending vs non-sexual offending, using a comprehensive list of predictors, a large sample of male and female offenders, and a rigorous statistical methodology.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The author would like to thank the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice (FDJJ) for the continued support and opportunity to work together on research aimed at helping young people achieve a safe, healthy, and prosperous future. Thank you to Nathan Epps of the FDJJ for his fantastic insights and advice in preparation of this manuscript, as well as the anonymous reviewers for their thoughtful and beneficial suggestions on a prior draft of this article.

Citation

Fox, B. (2017), "What makes a difference? Evaluating the key distinctions and predictors of sexual and non-sexual offending among male and female juvenile offenders", Journal of Criminal Psychology, Vol. 7 No. 2, pp. 134-150. https://doi.org/10.1108/JCP-12-2016-0047

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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