Maternal Caregiving Practices and Child Abuse Experiences as Developmental Antecedents to Insecure Attachments: Differential Pathways Between Adolescents Who Commit Sexual and Non-Sexual Crimes

Jamie R. Yoder, Melissa Grady, Rebecca Dillard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations

Abstract

Grady, Levenson, and Bolder’s etiological framework contextualizes sexual offending behaviors through a trauma and attachment lens to suggest child abuse experiences (CAE) are associated with attachment problems that contribute to sexual offending. To empirically test a portion of this theory, this cross-sectional study employed a structural equation mediated-moderated model on a sample of juvenile justice-involved youth (N = 505) who committed sexual (n = 355) and non-sexual (n = 150) offenses. Results revealed a good model fit and statistically significant direct effects between maternal harsh and indifferent caregiving styles and insecure attachment. However, CEAs did not mediate the relationship between caregiving styles and insecure attachment. Results also revealed a moderation effect whereby youth who commit sexual crimes who report harsher and more indifferent maternal caregiving styles were more likely to have higher CAEs relative to youth who commit non-sexual crimes. Implications are discussed using a public health perspective of prevention.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)837-861
Number of pages25
JournalSexual Abuse: Journal of Research and Treatment
Volume31
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2018.

Keywords

  • adverse childhood experiences
  • attachment
  • caregivers
  • juvenile sex offenders

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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