Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2001, $199,597)
Project Summary for 2001-JR-BX-0003
The long-term goal of this research is to determine the need for sex offenders specific treatment and develop interventions that would show efficacy for adolescents who have molested children. The specific goal is to understand how peer and adult attachment experiences differ in two groups of adolescents, those who have molested children and those who have committed other types of delinquent (non-sexual) acts. Using a cross-sectional strategy to conduct structural interviews, the applicant will test their central hypothesis by pursing the following objectives: (1) Determine the influence of perceived parental behavior on a sample of adolescent child molesters and other delinquent youth, (2) Identify the attachment representational models of adolescent child molesters and other delinquent youth, and (3) Determine the characteristics of peer intimate attachment. This is an innovative first attempt to empirically validate the developmental predictions of attachment theory when applied to adolescent sex offenders. The project provides a direct test of hypotheses drawn from the most recent theories of child molesters through cross-sectional analysis of two examples of adolescents. Through this research, it is expected that there will be a better understanding in the difference between adolescent child molesters and other delinquent youth. This will guide development of new, effective treatment strategies for sex offenders and help determine the need for specialized programs focused on sex offenders as opposed to programs aimed at delinquency.