Jeffry W. Thigpen
Childhood Sexual Behavior Problems
My research investigates normative sexual behavior in preadolescent children. Because sexual behavior problems in children are assessed relative to deviations from societal norms, my research can be used to assists practitioners within child welfare, mental health, and juvenile justice systems in distinguishing problematic from non-problematic sexual behavior. An additional aspect of my research involves investigating contextual factors that influence the sexual behavior of children. The findings of this research has important implications for clinical assessment as a child's sexual behavior is likely to reflect the context in which he/she is embedded and therefore should be assessed and understood within this context. I have drawn upon survey research methods to generate knowledge of normative or typical ranges of sexual behavior observed in preadolescent children. This work is interdisciplinary in nature as it is relevant to several disciplines including social work, psychology, medicine/pediatrics, human (and child) development, and human sexuality. The research described above as well as research that is currently in progress is designed to inform clinical assessment, specifically distinguishing problematic from non-problematic sexual behavior in preadolescent children.