An examination of the relationship between childhood abuse and sexual offending in incarcerated African American males
A review of the literature revealed considerable support for the relationship between sexual offending and prior childhood sexual abuse, neglect, and emotional abuse. However, that relationship has not been explored with respect to urban, African American, male sexual offenders. This study explored the relationship between adult sexual offending and childhood abuse in that population. The study focused on three variables that can affect adult sex offending, including (a) history of childhood sexual abuse, (b) history of childhood neglect, and (c) history of childhood emotional abuse. Sixty African American inmates age 25--50 identified as having sexual charges completed the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire (CTQ), which measured childhood abuse, the Paulhus Deception Scale (PHS), used to assess the tendency to provide socially acceptable responses, and a socioeconomic screening interview. The results of independent t tests demonstrated that inmates who reported experience with childhood neglect, emotional abuse, and sexual abuse reported higher scores on the childhood trauma scale. These results suggest that therapeutic interventions can be designed to address abuse and secondary complications for this population. Implications for social change include the development of culture, gender, and geographically specific clinical restorative techniques that could result in reduced sexual re-offending. The challenge to society is to initiate institutionalized treatment rather than incarceration with no treatment plan to deal with the effects of abuse.