This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

The Effects of Poly-Victimization and Caregiver Attachment on Disclosure of Illegal Sexual Behavior




Harrelson, Megan, E.

Type of Degree

Master's Thesis




This study examined the relationships between poly-victimization (i.e., cumulative types of victimization), caregiver attachment, and disclosure of illegal sexual behavior in adolescent males detained in sex offender treatment. Disclosure is a key component of sex offender treatment, however, little is known about the processes that influence disclosure of illegal sexual behavior. Poly-victimization was expected to predict caregiver attachment, as well as moderate the relationship between caregiver attachment and disclosure. The average number of victimizations experienced by participants was 10.75 and approximately one third of participants had experienced poly-victimization across all six victimization aggregates (Conventional Crime, Child Maltreatment, Physical, Sexual, Peer/Sibling, and Indirect). Regression analyses revealed that caregiver attachment mediated the relationship between poly-victimization and disclosure of illegal sexual behavior. Findings emphasize the importance of assessing for multiple types of victimization in adolescents with illegal sexual behavior, as well as adopting a trauma-informed approach during their treatment. Clinical implications are discussed.