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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Red flags and dark traits : an exploration of individual differences in a sample of youth charged with violent sexual and nonsexual crime Rose, Katherine


Youth who commit crimes of a sexual nature are a highly understudied demographic of sexual perpetrators. Research to date has had limited success in distinguishing youth who perpetrate sexually from their nonsexual counterparts. Traits associated with psychopathy, a disorder of personality, have been linked to criminal sexual behaviour in adults. While research at the youth level has been relatively minimal, it is possible that these arguably stable traits contribute to analogous behaviours in youth. Further, research suggests that individual differences linked to antisocial behaviour, specifically low IQ and childhood mistreatment, may also influence the likelihood of sexual offending. However, the relationship between psychopathy, intelligence, and child maltreatment remains unclear. Using a sample of juveniles charged with sexual and nonsexual crimes obtained from the Oklahoma Office of Juvenile Affairs (OOJA), the present study examined the construct of adolescent psychopathy measured by the PCL-YV as it relates to perpetration, with the consideration of two moderators: IQ and experience of childhood abuse. Interpretation of a binomial logistic regression suggested that, contrary to hypothesis, none of the main variables or interactions were associated with having a sexually violent criminal charge. However, descriptive and supplementary analyses indicate that young offenders are a heterogeneous group warranting interdisciplinary cooperation and further study for best preventative practice. Findings can also educate front-line workers in their understanding of young sexually violent and generally violent delinquents, facilitating their knowledge of how to tailor programming to individual needs.

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