Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


College of Psychology

First Advisor

David Shapiro

Second Advisor

Lenore E. Walker

Third Advisor

Tom Kennedy


forensic, parental, psychology, sexual abuse, social development model, structural equation modeling


Delinquency has traditionally been viewed as a male phenomenon, often defined in androcentric terms, and neglecting females in studies regarding delinquent behavior. However, females are the fastest growing subpopulation of the correction population, which amplifies the importance of understanding the nature and etiology of their offending. Recent research has suggested that predictors of male juvenile delinquency do not adequately explain delinquency in females, because the androcentric research ignores the damaging impact of sexual childhood abuse and other prominent family factors on female juvenile delinquents. This study aimed to examine the impact of childhood parental sexual abuse on female juvenile delinquency from a social developmental perspective by testing a sub-model of the SDM using a longitudinal database of child abuse and neglect. Results from PLS-SEM indicated that there were multiple relationships between constructs that differed between females and males, further supporting the idea of gender-specific risk factors. The strongest effect of male gender was on the relationships between parental monitoring and parental bonding and family socialization, and sexual abuse and moderate delinquency and family socialization. The strongest effect of female gender was on the relationship between sexual abuse and serious delinquency, and neighborhood safety and antisocial beliefs. Results point towards new ideas regarding differences in male and female delinquency and the impact of sexual abuse and offer support in using the Social Development Model in the study of delinquency.