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Adolescent females with limited delinquency – At risk of school failure
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
2018 (English)In: Children and youth services review, ISSN 0190-7409, E-ISSN 1873-7765, Vol. 95, p. 384-396Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

During adolescence, risk behaviors (e.g., running away from home, truancy, alcohol/drug use, and delinquency) increase, and most individuals who at some point commit crimes do so during their teenage years. Since the crime rate is so high during adolescence, juvenile delinquency can be regarded as a normal rather than a deviant behavior. Delinquent females have historically been under-researched. However, the little research that is available indicates that low-risk female offenders (females with limited delinquency receiving community-based measures), may be at risk of suboptimal development. The objective of the present study was to provide a basic description of this group of offenders by using their self-reports on delinquency, drug and alcohol use, school, peers, family and mental health. The self-reports of 138 females between 15 and 20 years of age sentenced to youth service in Stockholm, Sweden, were compared to young females in residential care and to a reference group of adolescent females without known adjustment problems. The results showed that the youth service females did not have a higher number of accumulated problems than the reference group with regard to criminal acts, drug and alcohol use, peers, mental health, and in some regards also for family. However, the youth service group reported various school-related problems and failures, more in line with the residential group. This suggests that interventions aimed at helping the young females develop strategies for becoming more academically successful are important.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018. Vol. 95, p. 384-396
Keywords [en]
Female delinquents, Limited delinquency, School failure
National Category
Psychology
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-165120DOI: 10.1016/j.childyouth.2018.11.015ISI: 000454972800041OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-165120DiVA, id: diva2:1281252
Available from: 2019-01-21 Created: 2019-01-21 Last updated: 2019-03-14Bibliographically 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: 2019-04-01Bibliographically approved

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