Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment, Vol. 18, No. 2, April 2006 (
Age and Sexual Recidivism: A Variable Connection
Published online: 26 April 2006
Meta-analysis (R. K. Hanson & M. T. Bussi
ere, 1998) has indicated an overall
negative correlation between age and sexual recidivism, but also found that the
size of this inverse relationship varies signiﬁcantly between samples. The present
study examined the relationship between age on release and sexual recidivism
in a large (N = 752), nationally representative, sample of imprisoned male sex-
ual offenders followed up for 10 years. Sexual offenders released at a younger
age tended to be more general criminals while those released at an older age
tended to be sexual specialists. Consistent with C. F. Roberts, D. M. Doren, and
D. Thornton (2002), age on release was found to make a signiﬁcant contribu-
tion to the prediction of sexual reconviction when two aspects of criminal history
(sexual deviance and general criminality) were controlled. Overall, the odds of
being sexually reconvicted declined by about 0.02 with each year of increasing
age. In addition to this general decline in recidivism with increasing age, there
was also a cubic effect of age for the offenders who had been sentenced for sexual
offenses on at least two prior occasions. This group showed an exceptionally high
sexual recidivism rate when released between the ages of 18–24 (80%). For those
aged between 25 and 59 their sexual reconviction rate was consistently just under
50% regardless of age. Then for the small group aged 60+ no further sexual
reconvictions were found.
KEY WORDS: age; sexual offenders; recidivism; risk assessment.
AGE AND SEXUAL RECIDIVISM: A VARIABLE CONNECTION
Hanson and Bussi
ere’s (1998) meta-analysis found that the average correla-
tion between sexual recidivism and age was negative. However, those researchers
also reported that the size of this correlation varied signiﬁcantly between samples.
Sand Ridge Secure Treatment Center, Mauston, Wisconsin.
To whom correspondence should be addressed at Sand Ridge Secure Treatment Center,
PO Box 700, 1111 North Street, Mauston, Wisconsin, USA.
2006 Springer Science+Business Media, Inc.