Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment [saj] pp1216-sebu-487653 May 9, 2004 13:24 Style ﬁle version Nov 28th, 2002
Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment, Vol. 16, No. 3, July 2004 (
Use of Visual Reaction Time to Assess Male
Adolescents Who Molest Children
Gene G. Abel,
Joanne L. Rouleau,
and Candice Osborn
With the recent realization of the extent to which adolescents are committing sex-
ual offenses, researchers have attempted to identify valid and reliable assessment
instruments for this population. Some such assessment instruments (i.e., plethys-
mography, self-report) have met with criticism relative to their utility with juvenile
offenders. The present study aimed to assess the validity of the Abel Assessment
for sexual interest(AASI) with male adolescents who have molested children.
Results indicated that the amount of time male adolescent child molesters viewed
slides of children was signiﬁcantly longer than nonmolesters. Additionally, view-
ing time of slides of children for male adolescent child molesters was signiﬁcantly
correlated with their number of victims and the number of times they carried out
acts of child molestation. These results support the AASI as a valid measure of
sexual interest in adolescent male child molesters.
KEY WORDS: classifying; adolescent; molesters; visual reaction.
Retrospective studies have demonstrated that, for many adult sex offend-
ers, the origin of their deviant sexual behaviors occurred before they reached the
age of 18 (Abel, Mittelman, & Becker, 1985; Abel & Rouleau, 1990; Groth &
Loredo, 1981). It is estimated that this population consists of between 50 and 80%
of all adult offenders (Abel & Rouleau, 1990; Longo & Groth, 1983). Concur-
rently, research focusing on juvenile offenders has shown that a subset of adoles-
cents who have committed sexual crimes continue these behaviors into adulthood
Behavioral Medicine Institute of Atlanta, Atlanta, Georgia.
Abel Screening, Atlanta, Georgia.
Department of Psychology, University of Montreal, Canada.
Private Practice, Glendale, Arigona.
Bedford Hills Correctional Facility, Bedford Hills, New York.
To whom correspondence should be addressed at Behavioral Medicine Institute of Atlanta, 1401
Peachtree Street, N.E., Suite 140, Atlanta, Georgia 30309; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
2004 Plenum Publishing Corporation