159486 Risk factors for sexual aggression and characteristics of sexually aggressive adolescents: A systematic review

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Alexis Magdalene Inabinet, MA , Medical Clinical Psychology Doctoral Program, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL
Maja Altarac, MD, MPH, PHD , Department of Maternal and Child Health, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birimingham, AL
Background Although concern regarding the sexually aggressive behavior of adolescents has been inspired through increasing numbers of sexual crimes committed by youth today, compiled data on the characteristics, risk factors, and possible etiology of sexual aggression is sparse.

Methods Antecedents that could potentially predict and decrease sexually aggressive behavior were collected through a systematic review of the literature. Three databases were searched for articles on sexually aggressive behavior among adolescents. Twenty-one peer reviewed articles regarding environmental and psychosocial risk factors that increase the chances of adolescents (aged 10 to 19) participating in sexually aggressive behavior or about characteristics of sexually aggressive adolescents were included in this review.

Results Consistent statistically significant risk factors for adolescent sexually aggressive behavior across studies included reporting a history of physical or sexual abuse and early sexual socialization and activity. Adolescent sex offenders often differ from their non-offending peers with increased feelings of social isolation and a reduced ability to empathize. Sexually aggressive adolescents consistently reported exposure to inter-family turmoil, weak interpersonal relationships and often have been diagnosed with conduct disorder. Most studies regarding the antecedents of sexually aggressive behavior among adolescents utilized data collected only from adolescent males after incarceration for sexual offense. Other characteristics found that potentially precede adolescent sexual aggression, such as sexual socialization, have no current guidelines to determine normal from abnormal.

Conclusion Future research should include prospective studies with high-risk populations regarding intervention-amenable psychosocial and behavioral antecedents of sexually aggressive behavior among adolescents prior to committing acts of sexual offense.

Learning Objectives:
1. Recognize the prevalence of sexually aggressive behavior among adolescents. 2. Link behavioral and psychological markers for sexually aggressive behavior demonstrated in the literature. 3. Discuss future research that would contribute to the available literature on sexually aggressive behavior among adolescents.

Keywords: Adolescent Health, Sexual Behavior

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Any relevant financial relationships? No
Any institutionally-contracted trials related to this submission?

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.