Juvenile recidivism: Criminal propensity, social control and social learning theories

Bruce Watt, Kevin Howells, Paul Delfabbro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Juvenile delinquency is a common precursor to persistent and serious criminal behaviour in adulthood. However, many young offenders will cease offending by early adulthood. Identification of the causal factors that contribute to persistence and relinquishment in offending behaviour is essential for reducing future criminality. Risk assessment research with juvenile offenders identifies a range of significant individual and contextual factors that predict future delinquency. However, much of the research has been conducted without clear theoretical direction. Theoretical bases for risk prediction are essential in the development of effective assessment processes that accurately guide interventions with young offenders. This article reviews previous prediction studies of juvenile recidivism within the framework of criminal propensity, social control and social learning theories. The key variables for criminal propensity were age of onset, criminal history and various measures of self-control; for social control, family cohesion and academic achievement; and for social learning theory, antisocial attitudes and association with deviant peers were consistent predictors of recidivism. Such factors appear critical in assessment and treatment with young offenders.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)141-153
Number of pages13
JournalPsychiatry, Psychology and Law
Volume11
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2004
Externally publishedYes

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social learning
learning theory
social control
offender
adulthood
juvenile delinquency
juvenile offender
criminality
Criminality
self-control
delinquency
group cohesion
academic achievement
risk assessment
persistence
Juvenile Delinquency
history
Process Assessment (Health Care)
Social Learning
Social Theory

Cite this

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Juvenile recidivism : Criminal propensity, social control and social learning theories. / Watt, Bruce; Howells, Kevin; Delfabbro, Paul.

In: Psychiatry, Psychology and Law, Vol. 11, No. 1, 2004, p. 141-153.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

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