Adolescent sexual offending. Prevalence, risk factors and outcome.

Cecilia Kjellgren

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (compilation)

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The purpose of this thesis is to explore the prevalence of sexually offending behaviour among female and male adolescents in Sweden. One aim is to identify potential risk factors associated with sexually offending behaviour and a further aim to examine the outcome in early adulthood for a sample of sexually offending adolescent males.
Three different samples were used for this thesis. A sample of Norwegian and
Swedish female and male high school students (more than 9,000) participated in a population based study and responded to a number of items concerning sexual interests and behaviours, conduct problems, health, peer and parental variables. Five percent of male and one percent of female students reported sexually coercive behaviour defined as penetrative sexual behaviours and masturbation.
Risk factors in particular associated with sexual coercion were identified by contrasting the sexually coercive youth with those who reported non-sexual conduct problems as well as with controls. A number of general risk factors as well as sexuality specific risk factors were identified among sexually coercive females as males. The male sample was used to further explore the link between being sexually abused and being sexually abusive. The association was confirmed also when controlling for other potential influencing factors.
The second sample was used to examine the one-year incidence of all reports to Social Services in Sweden on sexually offending adolescents. The total incidence rate was .06% among the 12-17 year old male population. Comparing the findings of self-reports and cases reported to authorities it could be concluded that the underestimation of adolescent female and male sexual offending is substantial.
A third sample of clinically assessed sexually offending male adolescents (M=15 years) was used for a follow up study. They were on average 21 years old by follow up, six years after assessment. One fifth reported sexually reoffending since the assessment. Risk assessments carried out in connection with the index offence were good in identifying those at high risk of sexually reoffending. One third of the males of the sample reported learning disabilities or neuropsychiatric disorders, and this was particularly prevalent among those who sexually reoffended. In addition
more than half of the males had been convicted of a non-sexual crime by the time of follow up.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
  • Svedin, Carl Göran, Supervisor
  • Långström, Niklas, Supervisor, External person
Award date2009 Sep 18
Print ISBNs978-91-86253-70-7
Publication statusPublished - 2009

Bibliographical note

Defence details

Date: 2009-09-18
Time: 13:00
Place: Kulturens Auditorium, Lund

External reviewer(s)

Name: Beech, Anthony
Title: Professor
Affiliation: Forensic and Criminological Psychology, University of Birmingham, England


Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Psychiatry


  • sexually offending adolescents
  • sexual coercion
  • prevalence
  • risk factors
  • sexual reoffending
  • assessment


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