The Experiences of Youth with Problem Sexual Behaviour: Barriers and Facilitators to Treatment

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Watson, Rebecca
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This paper is an analysis of 10 qualitative, peer-reviewed studies exploring the aspects of the experience of youth with problem sexual behaviour (PSB) that act as barriers and facilitators to treatment. PSB is defined as sexual behaviour in children and youth under the age of 18 years that is outside expected development. Youth with PSB are a heterogenous group, though the influence and prevalence of insecure attachment has been recently recognized in this population. While effective, evidence-based treatment exists, there is no clear path of referral from identification to treatment. The results indicate that presently, youth are subject to inconsistent and varied responses, hindered by misconceptions. Four primary themes emerged from the experience of youth with PSB: caregiver impact, system response, treatment factors, and stigma. A further seven subthemes were identified as barriers, and four as facilitators. These findings allow therapists greater understanding into the experience of youth with PSB and how treatment currently exists within the systemic response to these behaviours. Additionally, these insights may inform more thorough education for therapists around child and adolescent sexual development. Therapists are also encouraged to reflect on and enhance their role within the multi-disciplinary systems and teams that support youth with PSB. In this paper, the author provides a methodological analysis, discusses ethical considerations, and makes recommendations for future research.
problem sexual behavior , harmful sexual behavior , juvenile sexual offenders , child advocacy center , attachment theory , systemic response
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 United States , openAccess