Date of Award

Spring 2011

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Sociology & Criminal Justice


Applied Sociology

Committee Director

Karen A. Polonko

Committee Member

Dianne C. Carmody

Committee Member

Randy R. Gainey

Call Number for Print

Special Collections LD4331.S62 A34 2011


The purpose of this study is to identify potential risk factors for becoming a child sex offender, more specifically for sexually offending against a girl versus a boy victim. The 2004 Survey of Inmates in State Correctional Facilities was used for this study. Data were drawn from 11,569 one-hour computer assisted interviews with male inmates.

The results from this study confirm one of the two hypotheses set out in this research. Compared to rapists and female object sex offenders, boy object sex offenders were more likely to report a history of sexual abuse prior to age 18. The etiological factors related to becoming a girl object sex offender are speculative. Future research should focus attention to this social problem as girls are disproportionately sexually victimized compared to boys. Regardless of type of sexual offense this study shows that those with violent offences, sexual or not, report a history of physical violence in childhood twice that of the general population. This suggests a pattern of learned violent behavior leads to future violent acts such as sexual offending. Policy should look to eliminate all violent acts against children to prevent the molding of future sexually violent adults.


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