Psychology, Department of


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Published in Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment, Vol. 13, No. 2 (2001), pp. 91–103. Copyright © 2001 Plenum Publishing Corporation; published by Springer Netherlands. Used by permission.


To date, there has been limited literature on the measurement of sexual arousal in adolescent sex offenders. The data that exist have been somewhat mixed in terms of factors related to deviant sexual arousal in this group. The present study, with 71 adolescent sex offenders, investigates the relationship between offender and offense characteristics, including gender of victim, history of sexual abuse, history of physical abuse, race, and interactions between these factors in the prediction of physiologically measured sexual arousal to deviant and nondeviant stimulus categories. A number of variables significantly predicted sexual arousal. The most consistent predictors were gender of victim, race, the interaction of race and gender of victim, and to some extent the interaction of offender abuse history and gender of victim. Caucasian subjects tended to respond more than African American subjects did, and this has not been reported previously in the literature. The data are discussed in terms of consistency with other literature, suggesting that those juvenile offenders who target male victims and have been abused themselves may be a high risk group. Limitations of this study are also addressed.