skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 171452 Find in a Library
Title: Theories of Etiology (From Juvenile Sexual Offending: Causes, Consequences, and Correction, P 19-35, 1997, Gail Ryan and Sandy Lane, eds. -- See NCJ-171449)
Author(s): G Ryan
Date Published: 1997
Page Count: 17
Sponsoring Agency: Jossey-Bass Publishers
San Francisco, CA 94103-1741
Sale Source: Jossey-Bass Publishers
989 Market Street
San Francisco, CA 94103-1741
United States of America
Type: Issue Overview
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Ten theories of the etiology of deviant and criminal sexual behavior are briefly explained.
Abstract: Psychosis theory held that sex offenders must be "crazy" or "sick in the head" to commit rape and sexual assault on children. In the vast majority of cases, however, there is little basis for a diagnosis of mental illness as a causal explanation in the sense that other personality disorders are defined. Under physiological theory, neurological and hormonal factors are the most promising areas for physiological research, since either would involve measurable and potential alterable conditions. Related to, but not synonymous with, the theory of psychosis are the early theories of sexual offending as a symptom of intrapsychic conflict. Learning theory notes that although the capacity for sexuality is inborn, and many biological factors create the preconditions necessary for sexual functions, the ways in which people manifest their sexuality are learned. The concepts of normal and deviant sexuality are based in societal norms and values; thus, the evaluation of sexual behavior is based on learning what is acceptable within a given culture. Many theories of child development (developmental theories) have been advanced in this century and provide a basis for exploration of both normal and deviant development. Other theories of the etiology of sexual offending include attachment theories, cognitive theory, addictive theory, family systems theories, and integrative theories. 1 table and 51 references
Main Term(s): Juvenile Sex Offenders
Index Term(s): Biological influences; Crime causes theory; Psychological influences on crime; Psychosexual behavior; Sex offense causes; Sexual addiction; Social Learning
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.