Recent meta-analytical work suggests that juvenile sex offenders (JSOs) are less antisocial than juvenile non-sex offenders (JNSOs). This finding appears contradictory to the view that sex offences are manifestations of a general antisocial tendency. The current study explores the hypothesis that JSOs are characterized by a distinct developmental pattern. With data collected as part of the Serious and Violent Young Offenders Project, a series of latent class analyses were used to examine authority-conflict, covert and overt behavioural antecedents of 51 JSOs and 94 JNSOs. The analysis identified three latent classes: (a) a late-onset class, (b) a covert class, and (c) an overt class. Significant differences were found in the qualitative meanings of the behavioural patterns of JSOs when compared to JNSOs. Specifically, JSOs in the late-onset, covert and overt latent classes had lower probabilities of having engaged in any type of antisocial behaviour. Implications for future research are discussed.
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Thesis advisor: Corrado, Raymond
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