Evidence-Based Treatments for Youths Who Engage in Illegal Sexual Behaviors

Alex R. Dopp, Charles M. Borduin, Daniel B. Rothman, Elizabeth J Letourneau

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Effective treatments for youths who have engaged in illegal sexual behaviors are needed to reduce the societal impact of sexual crimes. This article reviews the state of the evidence base for treatments that target this clinical population. We conducted a comprehensive literature review to identify studies that evaluated outcomes of treatments for youths who have engaged in illegal sexual behaviors. Based on the results of our review, we characterized each treatment using established criteria for five evidence-based treatment classifications. We identified 10 treatment studies that met inclusion criteria. We classified one treatment—multisystemic therapy for problem sexual behaviors—as Probably Efficacious (Level 2), and two treatments—cognitive-behavioral therapy and behavior management through adventure—as Experimental (Level 4). Cognitive-behavioral therapy has limited research support with youths who have engaged in illegal sexual behaviors, but it is widely used in the United States and Canada. In contrast, multisystemic therapy for problem sexual behaviors had the highest level of research support but is used much less extensively with this population. We discuss implications of the present findings for treatment providers, policymakers, and researchers who seek to improve clinical services in this area.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology
StateAccepted/In press - Dec 23 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology


Dive into the research topics of 'Evidence-Based Treatments for Youths Who Engage in Illegal Sexual Behaviors'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this