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Date of Award

4-17-1998

Degree Type

Dissertation (On-Campus Access Only)

Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)

Committee Chair

Benson Schaeffer

Second Advisor

Sandra Jenkins

Third Advisor

Ronald Wilson

Abstract

There are indications from research and from clinical practice that a subgroup of
adolescent sex offenders (ASO's) suffer from Attention Deficit - Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Four characteristics common to both ASO's and ADHD are identified in the literature, and a theoretical model is proposed to account for the interaction between ASO behavior and ADHD. Results of a pilot study involving incarcerated male adolescents (49 ASO's and 16 non-sex offender youths) suggest that 25% to 39% of the ASO group evidence a significant degree of ADHD symptoms, as detennined by the Self Report Rating Scale (SRRS). ASO participants with elevated SRRS scores typically reported symptoms of Hyperactivity/ Impulsivity, or of both Hyperactivity/ Impulsivity and Cognitive Inefficiency. Few ASO participants reported a preponderance of Cognitive Inefficiency symptoms alone. However a low, positive correlation was noted
between the ASO Worst Clime variable and the SRRS Cognitive Inefficiency score. This may indicate that ASO's who are very inattentive and very hyperactive/ impulsive are at higher risk for serious criminal behavior. It is speculated that inattention, in this context, may reflect a tendency to attend to internal stimuli, such as deviant sexual fantasies. Results indicate there were no significant differences in SRRS scores between the ASO group and the non-sex offender group. There were no significant correlations between ASO personality variables as measured by the Jesness Inventory and SRRS scores. Implications for assessment, treatment, and research are discussed.

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