Race and Victim Age Matter: Sexual Behaviors and Experiences Among Confined African American and European American Youth With Sexual and Nonsexual Offenses

Rebecca Fix, John Michael Falligant, Apryl A. Alexander, Barry R. Burkhart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Previous research has found differences in sexual behavior and types of sexual offending by offense category and racial/ethnic group. The present study examined effects of offense category, victim age, and race/ethnicity on sexual behavior. Data from 561 confined adolescents adjudicated for illegal sexual behavior (AISBs) and adolescents adjudicated for illegal nonsexual behavior (AINBs) were included in the present study. A hierarchical multinomial logistic regression was run to test whether sexual experiences and behaviors differentially predicted AINBs, AISBs with child victims, and AISBs with peer/adult victims. Results supported the utility of distinguishing AISBs by victim age. Comparisons between AISBs and AINBs indicated AISBs had more sexual abuse and were more sexually restricted, whereas AINBs reported more sexual behavior, reflecting a finding potentially mirroring sexual development, sexual experiences, and caregiver approaches to discussing sexuality. Over 60% of AINBs and 30% of AISBs reported behaviors that could be classified as distribution of child pornography. Within the group of AISBs, select racial/ethnic group differences emerged such that European American participants were more likely to have had intrafamilial sexual experiences and were far less likely to have had vaginal intercourse than African American AISBs. Future directions and implications regarding policies related to sexual education and sexting are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)50-72
Number of pages23
JournalSexual Abuse: Journal of Research and Treatment
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2019



  • attitudes
  • delinquency
  • juvenile sex offender
  • male
  • racial/ethnic group
  • sexuality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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