Adverse Childhood Experiences and Arrest Patterns in a Sample of Sexual Offenders
Developmental psychopathology theories suggest that childhood adversity can contribute to antisocial conduct and delinquent activities. The purpose of this study was to explore the influence of adverse childhood experiences (ACE) on arrest patterns in a sample of sexual offenders (N = 740). Higher ACE scores were associated with a variety of arrest outcomes, indicating that the accumulation of early trauma increased the likelihood of versatility and persistence of criminal behavior.
Rapists of adults had higher ACE scores, lower levels of specialization, and higher levels of persistence than sex offenders with minor victims only. Child sexual abuse, emotional neglect, and domestic violence in the childhood home were significant predictors of a higher number of sex crime arrests.
For measures of nonsexual arrests and criminal versatility, it was the household dysfunction factors—substance abuse, unmarried parents, and incarceration of a family member—that were predictive, suggesting that family dysfunction and a chaotic home environment contributed significantly to increased risk of general criminal behavior.
Sex offenders inspire little sympathy in our society but may be among those most in need of trauma-informed models of treatment that recognize the influence of early adversity on maladaptive schema and self-regulation deficits related to criminal behavior. ..Source.. by Jill S. Levenson and Kelly M. Socia