Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment, Vol. 17, No. 3, July 2005 (
Violent Juvenile Sex Offenders Compared with
Violent Juvenile Nonsex Offenders: Explorative
Findings From the Pittsburgh Youth Study
Anton van Wijk,
and Theo Doreleijers
Only a limited number of studies have compared the psychosocial characteristics
of juvenile sex offenders and nonsex offenders. The results of these studies have
often been contradictory. Furthermore, studies in normal population groups are
rare and most of those studies have been conducted in speciﬁc populations. This
paper reports on the ﬁndings of a prospective, longitudinal study, the Pittsburgh
Youth Study, in which violent male sex offenders (n = 39) were compared with
violent nonsex offenders (n = 430) based on 66 demographic and psychosocial
characteristics. The ﬁndings show that the sex offenders resembled the nonsex
violent offenders with respect to nearly all child, family, peer and demographic
risk factors. Some suggestions are made with regard to future research.
KEY WORDS: longitudinal study; juvenile sex offenders; nonsex offenders; predictive factors.
Since the recognition in the 1970’s and 1980’s that juveniles are capable of
committing sex offenses, many studies have investigated this problem. However,
many methodological shortcomings were inherent to these studies, including small
sample size, biased sampling, nonstandardized instruments and a reliance on
Police Academy of the Netherlands, Apeldoorn, The Netherlands.
University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Free University, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam,
Department of Forensic Child and Juvenile Psychology, Free University, Amsterdam, The
Department of Child Psychiatry, Free University Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
To whom correspondence should be addressed at Police Academy of the Netherlands, De Kleiberg
15, 7312 SN Apeldoorn, The Netherlands; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
2005 Springer Science+Business Media, Inc.