A Developmental Taxonomy of Juvenile Sex Offenders for Theory, Research, and Prevention: The Adolescent-Limited and the High-Rate Slow Desister

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The current study investigates the offending trajectories of juvenile sex offenders (JSOs) across and beyond adolescence. In doing so, the study examines the number, the rate, and the shape of nonsexual and sexual offending trajectories in a sample of JSOs followed retrospectively and prospectively from late childhood to adulthood. Using semiparametric group-based modeling, the study reveals the presence of five distinctive nonsexual offending and two sexual offending trajectories: adolescent-limited and high-rate slow desisters. The study does not find strong evidence of synchronicity between nonsexual and sexual trajectories, suggesting that the current taxonomy of antisocial behaviors may offer a limited perspective on sex offender types. Furthermore, sexual trajectories do not differ much across sex offender types, suggesting that the findings might be generalized to child and peer abusers. The study findings offer supporting evidence for the presence of two distinct JSO types with important implications for theory, research, and interventions. © 2012 International Association for Correctional and Forensic Psychology.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1559-1581
JournalCriminal Justice and Behavior
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2012


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