Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name


Organizational Unit

Graduate School of Social Work

First Advisor

Kimberly Bender, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Inna Altschul

Third Advisor

Jeff Jenson

Fourth Advisor

George Leibowitz


Family, Sex offending, Treatment approaches, Youth


Families are frequently identified as a risk for supporting and perpetuating sexually abusive behavior among youth. Traditionally, the field has focused on deficits of families rather than considering them as a resource to promote change. Although emerging literature strongly argues the need to target families in the healing process, treatment initiatives rarely follow suite, and research has failed to comprehensively document the effectiveness of family-inclusive treatment. Knowing there are several gaps in literature, the current study was conducted to investigate the process of engagement in treatment, understand the nuances of family treatment, and to uncover positive outcomes associated with family involvement. An embedded mixed methods design was carried out in collaboration with the Colorado Sex Offender Management Board. Quantitative data were collected from probation files of adjudicated youth (N = 85) in three different Colorado jurisdictions, and qualitative data were collected from approved Colorado treatment providers (N = 19). Rigorous data analyses techniques were employed, including a qualitative Grounded Theory approach using structural, values, and focused coding schemas to analyze qualitative data and logistic regression models to analyze quantitative data. Qualitative results reveled the high level of stress among families and underscored the therapeutic relationship and treatment components as reciprocal provisions of treatment, whereby one is contingent upon the other for ethical service delivery. Quantitative logistic regression models demonstrated that youth with greater family service involvement (measured on a continuous scale composed of constructs of family therapy, multi-family group, family multi-disciplinary team, informed supervision, and family reunification) were three times more likely to successfully complete treatment than those who did not receive any family services. A conceptual model emerged that revealed strategies to move families through the treatment process. Inherent implications suggest that: crisis prevention initiatives are important to avert high levels of family stress; current treatment frameworks should be revised to include family protective factors; critical mechanisms of change should be tested quantitatively; and family services should occur uniformly. Overall, future research steps should detail a manual for how to pragmatically move families through the treatment process, test the effectiveness of that manual, and then disseminate effective methods to the provider community.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Jamie R. Yoder


Received from ProQuest

File Format




File Size

241 p.


Social work