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Applying General Strain Theory to Youth Commercial Sexual Exploitation

NCJ Number
Date Published
March 2016
27 pages
Drawing from Agnew’s general strain theory, this study used multigroup structural equation modeling to explore similarities and differences in youths’ vulnerability to commercial sexual exploitation (CSE) across gender.
The strain reactive pathway, linking caregiver strain to youth susceptibility to CSE, was tested with data from 1,354 serious youthful offenders, 8.4 percent of whom reported CSE. Findings revealed that caregiver strain, such as arrests and substance use, similarly impacted the nurturing of boys and girls. Across both genders, poor nurturing was linked to higher negative psychosocial emotion, running away, and initiating substance use and sexual relationships at earlier ages. For males, negative psychosocial emotion and earlier initiation of sexual relationships were significantly related to CSE. In contrast, vulnerability of females was more strongly linked to earlier substance use. 80 references

Date Published: March 1, 2016