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Understanding Perpetration of Child Sexual Abuse: Results from a Study of Adolescent Males

The failure to develop secure attachments has been described as an important contributing factor to the development of sexually abusive behavior. This presentation will describe an empirical exploration of this assumption and presents the results of a study that uses multiple methods (semi-structured interview, computer administered self-report, and chart review) to compare four groups of adolescents, sexual offenders with child victims, sexual offenders with peer/adult victims, non-sexual delinquents, and adolescent males in treatment for substance use or other mental health issues. It builds upon previously published results (Miner, et al., 2010) and will explore the influence of two dimensions of attachment: anxious attachment, related to poor working models of self, and attachment avoidance, related to poor working models of others, on the perpetration of child sexual abuse. These findings will be discussed within the context of understanding adolescent sexual offending and the implications of these findings for treatment and prevention.


Dr. Miner received his Ph.D. in Psychology from St. Louis University, Missouri. He is currently Professor of Family Medicine and Community Health. Dr. Miner began his work in sex offender research in 1986 as the research psychologist for California’s Sex Offender Treatment and Evaluation Project and joined the faculty of the University of Minnesota’s Program in Human Sexuality (PHS) in 1992. Dr. Miner coordinated sex offender treatment at PHS until 2008 and currently coordinates forensic assessment services. He serves on the Executive Board of the Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers and was Vice President of the International Association for the Treatment of Sexual Offenders until September 2008. Dr. Miner is a recipient of the Professional Services Award from the Minnesota Chapter of the Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers. Dr. Miner’s research has been supported by the U.S. Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institute of Justice, and the National Institute of Mental Health.