Risk Management of Sexually Abusive Youth in Massachusetts, 1998-2004 (ICPSR 4308)
Principal Investigator(s): Prentky, Robert, Justice Resource Institute
The goal of this study was to assist the Massachusetts Department of Social Services (DSS) with the risk management of youth (aged 4 to 20), identified through the Assessment for Safe and Appropriate Placement (ASAP) program, because of their sexually inappropriate and coercive behavior. The mission of this project was to identify and test potentially useful risk and protective factors for adolescent and pre-adolescent youth who had already begun engaging in sexually coercive behavior. An award from the National Institute of Justice complemented and supported state funding for the research project and permitted detailed coding of 822 cases selected from all 28 DSS area offices throughout Massachusetts. The first five months of the research program had two priorities: (1) the creation of a dictionary designed to permit maximally reliable coding of the information gleaned from the DSS files on these youth, and (2) coding a representative sample of youth on critical variables. Overall, the researchers requested the files of approximately 1,300 ASAP-evaluated youth. The present sample consists of 720 cases that had been coded, checked, and entered when data analysis began at the beginning of June 2004. Variables include referral and placement history, demographic characteristics, critical antecedent childhood life experiences, familial/parental characteristics, presenting behavioral problems including detailed coding of sexually normative, deviant (paraphillic), inappropriate and coercive behaviors, and psychological and/or emotional symptoms.
One or more files in this study are not available for download due to special restrictions ; consult the restrictions note to learn more. You can apply online for access to the data. A login is required to apply for access. (Instructions on YouTube.)
Access to these data is restricted. Users interested in obtaining these data must complete a Restricted Data Use Agreement, specify the reasons for the request, and obtain IRB approval or notice of exemption for their research.
Prentky, Robert. Risk Management of Sexually Abusive Youth in Massachusetts, 1998-2004. ICPSR04308-v1. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2013-11-20. http://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR04308.v1
Persistent URL: http://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR04308.v1
This study was funded by:
- United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. National Institute of Justice (2002-IJ-CX-0029)
Scope of Study
Smallest Geographic Unit: city
Date of Collection:
Unit of Observation: individual
Universe: Youth offenders in the state of Massachusetts from the start of the ASAP program, in 1998 through 2004, who met the program criteria.
Data Types: administrative records data
Data Collection Notes:
The PDF codebook available as part of this data collection contains a codebook generated by ICPSR that corresponds to the data that are available through restricted access procedures as well as a coding dictionary created by the principal investigator, which is provided for reference purposes. Users should be aware that there are some differences between the coding dictionary created by the principal investigator and the ICPSR codebook and data. Specifically, items in Part G "CARETAKER(S) INFORMATION" and Part N "Characteristics of Subject's Victim(s)" of the coding dictionary are missing from the ICPSR codebook and data. In addition, variables UCPORN and UVPORN in Part L "Sexualized and Sexually Coercive Behaviors" of the coding dictionary are missing from the ICPSR codebook and data. Conversely, there are a number of variables in the ICPSR Codebook and data that do not appear in the original coding dictionary created by the principal investigator. There are also other minor differences between the coding dictionary and the ICPSR codebook and data with respect to variable names and labeling information.
Study Purpose: The goal of this study was to assist the Massachusetts Department of Social Services (DSS) with the risk management of youth (aged 4 to 20), identified through the Assessment for Safe and Appropriate Placement (ASAP) program, because of their sexually inappropriate and coercive behavior. The missions of this project were to identify and test potentially useful risk and protective factors for adolescent and pre-adolescent youth who had already begun engaging in sexually coercive behavior. The project sought to find empirically-based answers to assist in assessing the risk posed by sexually abusive boys and girls. Thus, the primary mission of this research project was to begin at the earliest stage of identifying risk-relevant factors, examine the age and gender specificity of those factors, and test risk models for assessing indices of proximal sexually abusive behavior.
Study Design: An award from the National Institute of Justice complemented and supported state funding for the research project and permitted detailed coding of 720 cases selected from all 28 DSS area offices throughout Massachusetts. The first task of this project was to create a comprehensive descriptive picture of the ASAP population. The first five months of the research program had two priorities: (1) the creation of a dictionary designed to permit maximally reliable coding of the information gleaned from the DSS files on these youth, and (2) coding a representative sample of youth on critical variables to examine the adequacy of the information gathered and the reliability of the individual variables in the dictionary. The project identified youths who were ASAP-evaluated from a list generated by the region's lead agency. After the names were received, the project coordinator from the research department sent a list to each DSS office from which the youth were evaluated. Overall, the researchers requested the files of approximately 1,300 ASAP-evaluated youth. A total of 720 cases had been coded, checked, and entered when data analysis began at the beginning of June 2004. After the collection of abstracts, trained staff coded the files using the coding dictionary. During the three years of the research project, the coding dictionary was revised twice to improve clarity and reliability of individual items, as well as coverage. The last revision was made in July 2003. The 250 cases that had already been coded and that served as a basis for item changes and clarifications were recoded using the revised coding dictionary. The assessment of outcome was more complicated in this study because the vast majority of these children had not been detained in a secure setting, such as a prison or secure residential placement, were never legally charged for their offense-related behavior, and had not been "released" in the formal sense of the term. The present study created a proxy "reoffend" variable, defined as any inappropriate hands-on sexual behavior after the ASAP evaluation.
Sample: A total of 1,300 cases were requested for study from 28 DSS area offices throughout Massachusetts. Of the original 1,300 requested cases, 89 were closed and unattainable, 65 cases were not able to be found, and 37 cases assigned to ASAP were halted because of insurance issues or were cancelled by an authorized person. Of the approximately 1,100 cases remaining, the researchers created 884 abstracts. However in 60 cases, the researcher could not obtain the actual ASAP report, reducing the sample to 822 cases. Of these, 55 percent of the original 1,300 known ASAP cases are available in this collection with the age ranging from 4 to 20 and a gender breakdown of 81 percent boys to 19 percent girls. The principal investigator reports that the final sample of 822 cases has been coded and entered and serves as the basis of the follow-up of these children. That follow-up study has been concluded and the findings will be presented in a separate final report.
Mode of Data Collection: record abstracts
The data source for coding was a redacted research abstract averaging 100 pages in length developed from documents from the DSS case record. These documents essentially fell into four categories (1) DSS (ASAP evaluation, service plans, abuse investigations and reports, family history, detailed information on parents, siblings and placements), (2) residential/group treatment plans (progress notes and reports, incident and behavior reports), (3) school reports (academic and progress reports, psychoeducational evaluations), and (4) therapy (admission and discharge summaries, inpatient and outpatient treatment notes, medication trials and progress reports, and diagnoses).
Description of Variables: Variables in this study include demographic variables such as date of birth, race, last grade completed in school, and gender. Variables are also provided regarding psychological measures such as Intelligence Quotient (IQ), the presence of learning disabilities, and numerous psychological disorders such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and anxiety, among others. Other variables also include information regarding previous sexual, psychological, or physical abuse, family make-up, caregiver history, drug or alcohol abuse, victim characteristics, delinquency and anti-social behavior, juvenile penal history, and ASAP related variables. Specific variables in regards to the current sexually coercive behavior are also present such as the specific type of acts engaged in, and whether or not the acts were with agemates, and if they were nonforced or forced.
Response Rates: Not applicable
Presence of Common Scales: Juvenile-Sex Offender Assessment Protocol (J-SOAP)
- Standardized missing values.
- Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes.
Original ICPSR Release: 2006-01-06
- 2013-11-20 ICPSR edited the codebook notes in the PDF codebook and added a collection note to the metadata to document the differences between the codebook generated by ICPSR that corresponds to the data that are available through restricted access procedures and the original coding dictionary created by the principal investigator.
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