Child molestation: Factors related to level of violence

Cynthia Calkins Mercado, Mario J. Scalora

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Information from 363 convicted child molesters, housed in either a state correctional facility or an inpatient sex offender treatment program, was examined using legal, correctional, and treatment records to determine factors that differentiate violent child molesters from non-violent child molesters. Of this sample, 21% of the offenders were considered violent. Consistent with prior literature, multivariate analyses revealed that violent offenders were significantly younger, more likely to be unemployed, tended to be single, had committed their first sex crime at an earlier age, and had more total sex crime charges. Additionally, offenders were more sexually violent with strangers than immediate family members and with older victims compared to younger victims. Contrary to prior literature, violent child molesters were more likely to be married than divorced or widowed. These findings are particularly important considering the relationship between history of violence and recidivism. The results are discussed in relation to previous findings, difficulties in defining violence, and risk assessment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)21-34
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Threat Assessment
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2001


  • Child abuse
  • Sex offenders
  • Sexual abuse
  • Violence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


Dive into the research topics of 'Child molestation: Factors related to level of violence'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this