Emily R. Marhan, Psy.D., is a 2023 graduate of the Psy.D. Program in Clinical Psychology at Antioch University, New England

Dissertation Committee:

  • Katherine Evarts, PsyD, Committee Chair
  • Barbara Belcher-Timme, PsyD, Committee Member
  • Wendy Rotfort, PsyD, Committee Member


adolescent, youth, juvenile, neurotypical, neurodivergent, problematic sexual behavior, sexually abusive behaviors, sexual offending

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The following dissertation explored the subjective experience of mental health clinicians regarding their perceptions of providing treatment and assessment to neurodivergent youth (ND) who exhibited problematic sexual behavior (PSB). Prior to this study, scant research has been conducted pertaining to the treatment and assessment of youth who exhibit PSB, and less still on those with comorbid neurodivergence (Jones & Chaplin, 2017; Malovic et al., 2016; Pratt, 2013). This study utilized Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis to inform interpretations of participant responses collected through semi-structured interviews. Participants consisted of five licensed psychologists with experience providing assessment and/or treatment to both neurotypical and ND youth who displayed PSB. The outcome of the analysis resulted in the following overarching themes: (a) a comprehensive system of information gathering and assessment is indicated for evaluating ND/PSB youth; (b) there are several barriers to providing effective treatment for ND/PSB youth; (c) ND/PSB youth may benefit from treatment that emphasizes skill-building, sex education, and family inclusion in treatment. Each superordinate theme also included several subthemes, which are further explored with regard to existing research, along with clinical recommendations, study limitations, and recommendations for future research.


Emily R. Marhan

ORCID Scholar ID# 0009-0004-4435-1969