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Adolescent female offenders’ subjective experiences of how peers influence norm-breaking behavior
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Clinical psychology.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Special Education.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-4856-1830
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
2018 (English)In: Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal, ISSN 0738-0151, E-ISSN 1573-2797, Vol. 35, no 3, p. 257-270Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Delinquent peers have a strong influence on adolescent delinquent behavior. However, few studies have investigated adolescents’, and in particular young females’, own perspectives of the role of peers on their delinquent behavior. The purpose of the present study was to explore how young female offenders described their delinquent behavior and more specifically the role they assign to peer relations in committing or avoiding delinquent acts. Nine female adolescents, sentenced to youth service, were interviewed, and the data was analyzed using the Consensual Qualitative Research (CQR) method. The results showed that committing crimes and taking drugs with peers were portrayed as a way for the female delinquents to socialize. Delinquent and pro-social activities with peers appear to serve similar developmental functions in the sense that it is described to fulfill the same developmental needs. The young offenders also described collectively created pressures and norms in the peer group as the main contributing factor to their norm-breaking behavior, where they described being both recipients and producers of influence in the group. Another important finding was that the female offenders showed an awareness of the importance of pro-social peers and the need to eliminate delinquent friends from their peer network in order to help them refrain from deviant behavior. Implications for prevention and intervention are discussed.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018. Vol. 35, no 3, p. 257-270
Keywords [en]
Female adolescents’ subjective experiences, Female delinquency, Peers and delinquency, Adolescent development
National Category
Applied Psychology
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-155488DOI: 10.1007/s10560-017-0526-0ISI: 000444094900005OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-155488DiVA, id: diva2:1199809
Available from: 2018-04-22 Created: 2018-04-22 Last updated: 2019-12-12Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Characteristics of adolescent females with limited delinquency: Developmental challenges in relation to family, peers and education
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Characteristics of adolescent females with limited delinquency: Developmental challenges in relation to family, peers and education
2019 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Adolescence is a developmental period marked with several changes in a young person’s life. Most adolescents who commit crimes desist over time. Despite this, research has mainly focused on those with extensive and long-term delinquency, including mostly males. Young females with limited delinquency are thus an under-researched group. The overall aim of the thesis was to explore the characteristics of young females with limited delinquency, and relate these features to developmental aspects of adolescence. Further, the objective was to study potential challenges they experience, in connection to family, peers and school. All four studies were based on data from young females sentenced to youth service. Studies 1 and 2 include all (N=144) females convicted in a major city in Sweden during 2007–2012. The data collected through self-reports based on ADAD interviews at the beginning of youth service in Study 1 was further complemented and followed up in Study 2 with registry data on education and recidivism 24 months after starting their sentence. Studies 3 and 4 were based on in-depth interviews with nine adolescent females who started their sentence between 2012–2013 in one of two major cities in Sweden. The results confirmed the assumption that this group of offenders displayed limited delinquency. Their self-reports in Study 1 showed low involvement in crimes during twelve months prior to youth service, which was similar to the reporting of a reference group of females in general. Displaying limited delinquency was supported by registry data in Study 2, showing that the majority of the females did not reoffend within two years after being sentenced, as measured by suspicion and conviction rates. However, they did show high educational deficits. This was evident both by high levels of self-reported school problems in Study 1 and final grade point in compulsory and upper secondary school in Study 2. Their educational attainment was lower than adolescent females in general, irrespective of whether they reoffended or not. These findings suggest that although the females were limited in their delinquency, their low levels of education could still put them at risk for suboptimal development. In the interviews, participants ascribed particular importance to peers and family when describing their delinquency. The narratives illustrated how the process of delinquency as it concerned interpersonal relations involved mutually influential exchanges, both contributing to as well as being affected by the delinquency. As such, delinquency was, in Study 3, portrayed as a way to socialize, where delinquent peers were considered important for committing crimes, and pro-social peers for desisting. Likewise, family relations in Study 4 were given a prominent role in the entire process. Accordingly, delinquency was described as a consequence of the relations to the family, where these were negatively as well as positively affected by the crimes. The collective results indicate that committing crimes for the females may be viewed as part of normative development, in which the quest for independence and establishing ones’ identity can contribute to these behaviors. Practical implications for work with young female offenders are also discussed.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Psychology, Stockholm University, 2019. p. 92
Keywords
female offenders, limited delinquency, adolescence, educational attainment, interpersonal relations, peers, family
National Category
Psychology
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-166492 (URN)978-91-7797-608-0 (ISBN)978-91-7797-609-7 (ISBN)
Public defence
2019-04-26, David Magnussonsalen (U31), Frescati Hagväg 8, Stockholm, 10:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following papers were unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 2: Manuscript. Paper 4: Manuscript.

Available from: 2019-04-03 Created: 2019-03-14 Last updated: 2020-01-28Bibliographically approved

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