Date of Award

6-2003

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. Alan J. Hovenstadt

Second Advisor

Dr. John S. Geisler

Third Advisor

Dr. Paul Yelsma

Abstract

This analytic variable study examined potential differences that exist among juvenile and adult sex offenders on the emotional expressiveness variables of alexithymia and affective orientation, and three behavior variables including self-defeating behavior, risk taking, and reckless behavior. In addition, the adult sex offenders' attachment style in current relationships was examined.

Research questions were tested by t -tests. The significance level for all analyses was set at the .05 level. An analysis of variance (ANOVA) was conducted to determine the primary attachment style of the adult sex offenders in current relationships.

Participants in this study were 47 juvenile sex offenders from a Midwestern, residential treatment facility, and 61 adult sex offenders from two community-based treatment programs in the Midwest. This study compared juvenile and adult subjects on five instruments: (1) the Toronto Alexithymia Scale (Bagby, Taylor, & Parker, 1992), (2) the Affective Orientation Scale (Booth-Butterfield & Booth-Butterfield, 1990), (3) the Self-defeating Personality Scale (Schill, 1990), (4) the Adolescent Risk Taking Scale (Alexander et al., 1990), and (5) the Reckless Behavior Questionnaire (Arnett, 1989). In addition, the adult subjects were administered the Relationship Styles Questionnaire (Griffin & Bartholomew, 1994). Demographic information was also collected on all participants.

The findings of this study indicated that there were no statistically significant differences among the juvenile and adult sex offenders on the variables of alexithymia, affective orientation, and self-defeating behavior. There were significant differences between juvenile and adult sex offenders on the variables of risk taking and reckless behaviors, with the juvenile group reporting a higher degree of these behaviors. Forty-one percent of the adult sex offenders reported a secure attachment style in current relationships. An analysis of variance (ANOVA) was done on the adult sex offenders comparing the severity of their offense to their scores of reported degree of emotional expressiveness. There was a significant difference among the adult subjects on the Twenty-Item Toronto Alexithymia (TAS-20) subscale, Difficulty Identifying Feelings. Adult sex offenders whose offenses were more violent reported more difficulty identifying feelings than those whose offense involved less violence.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access

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