‘He Wasn’t Falling Apart … We were Falling Apart’ Understanding the Mental Health Impacts on Parents of Youth Who Sexually Offend
- 287 Downloads
Youth sexual offending is a serious societal concern that impacts the well-being of multiple individuals, including caregivers. The current study used a mixed-methods design to examine the mental health consequences to parents of youth who have committed a sexual offence. Semi-structured interviews and self-report questionnaires were employed with 16 parents from 10 families in Canada. Seven themes emerged from our quantitative and qualitative analyses: immediate emotional impacts; perceived stress; mood difficulties; hopelessness; and coping strategies (avoidance, problem solving, social support). We also examined ongoing parenting challenges in addressing the repercussions of the offending behavior, as well as parents’ hopes for the future of their family. Overall, findings point to the necessity of providing intervention services to parents not only to help them meet the needs of sexual offending-affected children but also to ensure their well-being so that they are able to more effectively advocate for the children in their care.
KeywordsYouth Sexual offending Parent Mental health Well-being
We thank the parents who participated in the study and the hospital-based social worker who helped with the development of our interview guide and with participant recruitment. We also wish to thank the research assistants (Matthew Johnston, Leslie Guldimann, Serenna Dastouri, Marshneil Vaz, Elena Gallitto, and Lyzon Babchishin). We also acknowledge the contributions of Dr. Elizabeth Jeglic at the outset of this study.
- Allen, M. K., & Superle, T. (2014). Youth crime in Canada. Ottawa: Statistics Canada.Google Scholar
- Beck, A. T., & Steer, R. A. (1988). Beck Hopelessness Scale manual. San Antonio: The Psychological Corporation.Google Scholar
- Beck, A. T., Steer, R. A., & Brown, G. K. (1996). Manual for Beck Depression Inventory-II. San Antonio: Psychological Corporation.Google Scholar
- Berg, B. (2007). Qualitative research methods for the social sciences. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.Google Scholar
- Bowers, L. (2002). Unrecognised victims: The parents of child and adolescent offenders. Issues in Forensic Psychology, 3, 49–58.Google Scholar
- Creswell, J. W. (2014). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods Approaches (4th ed.). Thousand Oaks: Sage.Google Scholar
- Finkelhor, D., Hammer, H., & Sedlak, A. J. (2008). Sexually assaulted children: National estimates and characteristics. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.Google Scholar
- Gervais, C., & Romano, E. (2018). Safeguarding child rights and enhancing caregiver responsibilities among Canadian parents of youth who sexually offend. Child Abuse & Neglect: The International Journal, 76, 502–514. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chiabu.2017.12.005.
- Hackett, S. (2004). What works for children and young people with harmful sexual behaviours? Barkingside: Barnardos.Google Scholar
- Hackett, S., Masson, H., & Phillips, S. (2005). Services for young people who sexually abuse. London: NSPCC, Youth Justice Board and National Organisation for the Treatment of Abusers.Google Scholar
- Roberti, J. W., Harrington, L. N., & Storch, E. A. (2006). Further psychometric support for the 10-item version of the Perceived Stress Scale. Journal of College Counseling, 9, 135–147. https://doi.org/10.1002/j.2161-1882.2006.tb00100.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Steer, R. A., & Clark, D. A. (1997). Psychometric characteristics of the Beck Depression Inventory-II with college students. Measurement and Evaluation in Counseling and Development, 30, 128–136.Google Scholar
- Weiss, D. S., & Marmar, C. R. (1997). The Impact of Event Scale–Revised. In J. P. Wilson & T. M. Keane (Eds.), Assessing psychological trauma and PTSD: A practitioner’s handbook (pp. 399–411). New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
- Yoder, J. R., Hansen, J., Lobanov-Rostovsky, C., & Ruch, D. (2015). The impact of family service involvement on treatment completion and general recidivism among male youthful sexual offenders. Journal of Offender Rehabilitation, 54, 256–277. https://doi.org/10.1080/10509674.2015.1025177.CrossRefGoogle Scholar