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Enhancing Current Practices in Risk Assessment for Youth Offending: A Two-Part Study

Twyford, Jennifer Marie
Degree Grantor:
University of California, Santa Barbara. Counseling, Clinical & School Psychology
Degree Supervisor:
Erin Dowdy
Place of Publication:
[Santa Barbara, Calif.]
University of California, Santa Barbara
Creation Date:
Issued Date:
Psychology, Psychometrics and Psychology, Developmental
Positive psychology
Risk assessment
Youth offenders
Dissertations, Academic and Online resources
Ph.D.--University of California, Santa Barbara, 2012

Study 1: Describing Youth Offenders in Terms of Hope and Grit. Juvenile justice researchers and practitioners have not yet followed other social science disciplines and shifted their paradigm to a perspective based in mental wellness and positive psychology. To further understand the role of mental wellness as a protective factor associated with desisting from delinquency, this study investigated the presence of positive psychological traits of hope and grit (i.e., perseverance) within a youth offender population (N = 186). Due to differences in developmental trajectories for delinquency across gender, gender differences were examined; however, no significant differences were found. Results indicated that youth offenders had significantly lower levels of self-reported hope and grit when compared to other youth populations. In addition, a moderately low correlation between hope and risk for recidivism was observed. However, no significant differences were found between youth offender grit and a normative population, and grit was not significantly correlated with risk for recidivism. Implications for theory, research, and applied practice are discussed.

Keywords: positive psychology, youth offenders, hope, grit, gender.

Study 2: Enhancing Current Practices in Risk Assessment for Youth Offending. Based on resiliency theory, assessing for both risk and protective factors is necessary to identify individual outcomes; however, information regarding protective factors against recidivism for juvenile offenders is limited. In addition, empirically-supported self-reported dynamic traits of hostility and emotional regulation have not yet been incorporated into risk assessment. In a sample of 189 youth offenders, this study examined self-reported hostility, emotional regulation, hope, and grit in relation to six-month recidivism. Youth offender self-reported hostility, emotional regulation, hope, and grit yielded small- to medium-sized effects differentiating six-month recidivists from nonrecidivists, with hostility being the strongest (d = 0.50) and most consistent predictor of recidivism. This study also modeled youth self-reported hostility, emotional regulation, hope, and grit with hierarchical logistical regression while controlling for broader ecological risk factors to predict six-month recidivism. Results indicated self-reported hostility was the only significant predictor for six-month recidivism.

Keywords: youth offenders, hostility, emotional regulation, hope, grit, recidivism, risk assessment.

Physical Description:
1 online resource (117 pages)
UCSB electronic theses and dissertations
Catalog System Number:
Inc.icon only.dark In Copyright
Copyright Holder:
Jennifer Twyford
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