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Assessment and Treatment of Adolescent Sexual Offenders: Implications of Recent Research on Generalist Versus Specialist Explanations

NCJ Number
Child Abuse and Neglect Volume: 36 Issue: 3 Dated: March 2012 Pages: 203-209
Lesleigh Pullman; Michael C. Seto
Date Published
March 2012
7 pages
This article presents the results of a literature review on studies examining the distinction between generalist and specialist adolescent sex offenders.
The meta-analysis of the research literature found that the majority of adolescent sex offenders (ASOs) are considered generalist offenders with risk and etiological factors similar to those of adolescent non-sex offenders. In addition, the analysis found that a small number of ASOs could be categorized as specialist offenders in that they have a unique set of risk and etiological factors that set them apart from other ASOs. These different factors include childhood sexual abuse and maltreatment and atypical sexual interests. For the meta-analysis, researchers examined 59 studies that directly compared ASOs and other adolescent offenders on theoretically derived variables such as offender age, conduct problems, criminal involvement, antisocial tendencies, family problems, substance abuse, childhood maltreatment and exposure to violence, and psychopathology. The analysis found that a clear and clinically important distinction exists between generalist adolescent sex offenders and specialist adolescent sex offenders, indicating the need for service providers to more closely match treatment methods to the needs of the offenders. The authors conclude that the use of more targeted treatments for ASOs will lead to decreases in both sexual and nonsexual recidivism and more positive behavioral changes in this group of adolescent offenders. References