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Home arrow Philosophy arrow Sex Crimes and Sex Offenders: Research and Realities
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Academic Performance and Intelligence (IQ)

In regard to academic performance, the research suggests that juvenile sex offenders do poorly in school. Although a few studies show no significant difference between juvenile sex offenders and non-sex offenders with regard to academic tests and academic ability (Jacobs, Kennedy, & Meyer, 1997), more studies show that juvenile sex offenders have some sort of academic impairment. For example, Veneziano, Veneziano, and LeGrand (2000) report that juvenile sex offenders do not perform well in academic settings. Another study found that the majority of a sample of juvenile sex offenders had less than average intelligence and were more likely to experience school suspensions. Awad and Saunders (1991) found that almost half of juvenile sex offenders had diagnosable learning disorders, and 83% had academic difficulties. Even more alarming, one study found that almost one-third of juvenile sex offenders had some neurological impairment (Ferrara & McDonald, 1996).

In one study, juvenile sex offenders with low IQ were compared to juvenile nonsex offenders who also had low IQ. The juvenile sex offenders with low IQ performed significantly worse than juvenile non-sex offenders with low IQ on the following tasks: switching attention, processing speed, prospective memory, and working memory. Additionally no differences were found between juvenile sex offenders and juvenile non-sex offenders without low IQ. This suggests the "neuropsychological characteristics of juvenile sex offenders are related to their IQ level" (Miyaguchi & Shirataki, 2014, p. 253). Therefore, developmental deficits are potentially related to juvenile sexual offending (Miyaguchi & Shirataki, 2014).

Other studies have also found weaknesses in the executive functioning of juvenile sex offenders (Butler & Seto, 2002; van Wijk et al., 2006; Veneziano, Veneziano, LeGrand, & Richards, 2004). Executive functioning includes attention, cognitive flexibility, working memory, inhibition, and ability to self-monitor. Executive function impairment is relevant with regard to treating juvenile sex offenders. As noted in Chapter 10, the most common type of treatment for sex offenders is cognitive- behavioral treatment. Such treatment is likely to be ineffective for people with neurological impairments because it relies on the ability to process information.

 
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