Distinct typologies of sexual aggressors of women have been established over the years to explain their heterogeneity. To date, typologies have distinguished these offenders based on differences in victim and offence characteristics, motivation, and, the level of risk of reoffending posed by the offender. These distinct typologies have often emerged parallel to policies changing the way these offenders are dealt with in the criminal justice system. The current dissertation departs from previous classification strategies by exploring the utility of a developmental framework for classifying sexual aggressors of women. To this end, it is organized into three separate but related empirical studies. The first study examined the presence of antisocial trajectories in youth using a dynamic classification procedure and uncovered, contrary to current theoretical propositions, that the antisocial development of sexual aggressors of women in youth was characterized by much heterogeneity. More specifically, two meta-trajectories were uncovered, an early- and a late-onset trajectory, the former composed of three pathways, and the latter composed of two. Furthermore, the trajectories discovered were differentially related to several dimensions of general, violent, and sexual offending in adulthood. In the second study, the two meta-trajectories were examined in terms of mating effort and sexual drive, and while a high level of mating effort characterized the late-onset trajectory, the early-onset trajectory was characterized by both high mating effort and high sexual drive. In addition, sexual drive and mating effort were also related to an early-onset and higher frequency of sexual offending in adulthood suggesting that these measures may be associated with the motivation to sexually offend. In the third study, the two meta-trajectories were assessed in terms of their association with violent/sexual reoffending in adulthood. The results indicated that an early-onset antisocial trajectory, characterized by a pattern of escalation in youth, predicted violent/sexual reoffending in adulthood. In addition, the predictive aspect of these measures was demonstrated independently, and in conjunction with current measures that are typically included in many current actuarial risk assessment instruments. Taken together, the results of these three studies challenge current classification strategies, and, developmental conceptualizations, of sexual aggressors of women.
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Thesis advisor: Lussier, Patrick
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