Date of Award

12-2000

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. Alan Hovestadt

Second Advisor

Dr. Mary Z. Anderson

Third Advisor

Dr. Paul Yelsma

Abstract

This analytic variable study examined the potential differences that exist among male juvenile sexual offenders (JSOs), general offenders (GOs), and nonoffenders (NOs) on the emotional expressiveness variables of alexithymia and affective orientation, and three problematic behavior variables including self-defeating behavior, risk taking, and reckless behavior. It was hypothesized that JSOs and GOs would be statistically significantly different than NOs on all variables but not different from each other.

Hypotheses were tested by a MANOVA. When statistical significance was indicated, ANOVAs were computed to identify the specific groups and measures, which were statistically significant The significance level for all analyses was set at the .05 level. Additional analyses were conducted to determine to what extent various clusters of specific descriptors identify group membership for JSOs and GOs, exclusively, utilizing Logistic Regression.

Participants in this study were 47 JSOs and 90 GOs from a large, Midwestern, multi-service, child care organization, and 80 8th- through 12th-grade students (NOs) from a public middle school and high school also located in the Midwest. This study utilized five instruments: the Toronto Alexithymia Scale (TAS-20; Bagby, Taylor, & Parker, 1992), the Affective Orientation Scale (Booth- Butterfield & Booth-Butterfield, 1990), the Self defeating Personality Scale (Schill, 1990), the Adolescent Risk Taking Scale (Alexander, Kim, Ensminger, Johnson, Smith, & Dolan, 1990), and the Reckless Behavior Questionnaire (Arnett, 1989). Demographic information was collected on all three participant groups.

The findings of this study indicated that there were no statistically significant differences among JSOs, GOs, and NOs on the variables of alexithymia, affective orientation, and self-defeating behavior. On the variable of risk taking, JSOs and GOs were statistically significantly different from NOs but not from each other on the risk taking variable. Results on the reckless behavior variable indicated that all three groups were statistically significantly different from each other. GOs exhibited a higher frequency of reckless behavior than either JSOs and NOs! JSOs exhibited more reckless behavior than NOs. The results o f the additional offender demographic analysis indicated that the family problem of drug-alcohol abuse is predictive of GOs and a family problem of sexual abuse issues is predictive of JSOs.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access