Isolation and normlessness: Attitudinal comparisons of adolescent sex offenders, juvenile offenders, and nondelinquents

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The authors explored attitudinal differences among adolescent male sex offenders, juvenile delinquents, and nondeliquent youth based on three variables drawn from integrated delinquency theory: conventional attitudes, normlessness, and social isolation. Consistent with previous juvenile delinquency studies, the results indicate no differences among the three groups on conventional attitudes. With respect to normlessness, both the sex offenders and juvenile delinquent groups demonstrated more school normlessness than did nondelinquent youths, and adolescent sex offenders showed greater peer normlessness than did either nondelinquent youths or juvenile delinquents. Examination of perceived social isolation among the three groups indicates that sex offenders consistently perceived themselves as more isolated than other youths with their families, in their school, and among their peers. These results suggest that interpersonal factors, in addition to a lack of social controls and normlessness, are associated with sexually inappropriate behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)491-504
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1 2005



  • Adolescent
  • Attitudes
  • Isolation
  • Juvenile delinquency
  • Normlessness
  • Sex offender
  • Social control

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