Child & Youth Care Forum

, Volume 40, Issue 5, pp 401–417 | Cite as

Childhood Abuse and Adolescent Sexual Re-Offending: A Meta-Analysis

  • Adana L. MallieEmail author
  • Jodi L. Viljoen
  • Sarah Mordell
  • Andrew Spice
  • Ronald Roesch
Original Paper


Recent research indicates that adolescents who have sexually offended are more likely than other adolescents to have a history of sexual and physical abuse. However, it is unclear whether abuse predicts re-offending among these adolescents. To examine this relationship, a meta-analysis was conducted which included 29 effect sizes drawn from 11 published and unpublished studies involving 1542 sexually abusive adolescents. The results indicate a significant but small relationship between history of sexual abuse and sexual re-offending (O.R. = 1.51, p < .05). In contrast, sexual abuse did not significantly predict general re-offending, although there was significant heterogeneity across studies. The relationship between physical abuse and recidivism (sexual and general) was non-significant. Due to methodological shortcomings in this area, such as limitations in methods of determining abuse history and the scarcity of research, the ability to make conclusions about the relationship between abuse and adolescent sexual recidivism is limited. As such, the discussion outlines how new studies can address these shortcomings and advance knowledge.


Sexual re-offending Abuse Adolescents 


Studies preceded by an * were included in the meta-analysis.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Adana L. Mallie
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jodi L. Viljoen
    • 1
  • Sarah Mordell
    • 1
  • Andrew Spice
    • 1
  • Ronald Roesch
    • 1
  1. 1.Simon Fraser UniversityBurnabyCanada

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