Neurophysiological risk factors in Adolescent Sexual Offending
Sexual offending is a major public health concern in our society, with 21% of those charged with sexual offenses being adolescents between 12 and 19 years. Characteristics of these youth include antisocial attitudes, and problems with self-regulation and intimacy, problems that interfere with learning, social maturation, and appreciating the rights of others. To date, theories of sexual offending have focused primarily on social influences and have largely neglected biological mechanisms, providing incomplete explanations of the phenomena. Partnering with Pathstone Mental Health, the Niagara regional treatment centre for child and adolescent mental health, the aim of this study is to integrate neuroscience measures with clinical research to identify individual variability in adolescent sex offenders that is not measurable at the behavioral level. Results from this study will inform developmental theories of sexual offending, provide greater insight into risk and resilience for committing further offenses, and inform treatment strategies.