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Self-reported strengths and difficulties in Swedish young offenders in community-based rehabilitative programmes
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
(English)In: Child & Youth Care Forum, ISSN 1053-1890Article in journal (Refereed) Submitted
Abstract [en]

Mental health was investigated in a representative group of Swedish male offenders, 15-17 years of age,  referred to community based rehabilitative programmes (n=188). Self -report scores of the Strength and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) were compared to those of a norm group, for the entire sample and for three subgroups with different levels of antisocial behaviour. The young offenders reported elevated levels of total difficulties, conduct problems and hyperactivity/inattention, significantly more scores in the clinical range and more negative impact on everyday life. The heterogeneity was substantial, and the subgroup with the most extensive history of antisocial behaviour was largely responsible for the overall results. Screening for mental health should be part of routine assessment, particularly in youths with extensive histories of antisocial behaviour.

Keyword [en]
Juvenile offenders, juvenile justice, psychological adjustment, SDQ
National Category
Applied Psychology
Research subject
Clinical Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-42461OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-42461DiVA: diva2:346496
Available from: 2010-09-10 Created: 2010-09-01 Last updated: 2010-09-10Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Swedish young offenders in community-based rehabilitative programmes: Patterns of antisocial behaviour, mental health, and recidivism
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Swedish young offenders in community-based rehabilitative programmes: Patterns of antisocial behaviour, mental health, and recidivism
2010 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The overall aim of this thesis was to explore patterns of antisocial behaviour, mental health and recidivism among Swedish young offenders in community-based rehabilitative programmes (n=189). Study I explored the character and severity of self-reported behavioural problems prior to programme participation.  Four distinct subgroups were identified: subgroup (SG) 1 (n=60), boys exhibiting adolescent delinquency; SG 2 (n=65), boys exhibi­ting pronounced adolescent delinquency; SG 3 (n=48), boys exhibiting pronounced adolescent delinquency as well as criminality including violence; SG 4 (n=16), boys exhibiting pronounced adolescent delinquency as well as criminality including violence and drug-related crimes.

Study II investigated the mental health of the participants, by means of the Strengths and Difficulty Questionnaire (SDQ). When relating SDQ-scores to the previously identified subgroups, SG 1 with the least prominent history of antisocial behaviour was found to resemble a normative sample, while the subgroups with more extensive histories of antisocial behaviour had significantly elevated scores on the hyperactivity/inattention and conduct problem scales.

Study III investigated recidivism in criminality in the 18-months following programme start, finding that 60% of the participants had been registered as suspected of new crimes. SG 3 and 4 with the most extensive histories of antisocial behaviour were responsible for a significantly larger part of recidivism than expected. By contrast, SG 1, reporting the least antisocial behaviour in their past, was responsible for a significantly smaller part of the recidivism. This was true for all crimes as well as crimes of violence specifically, confirming the subgroups identified based on the self-reports.

The results are related to developmental theories of antisocial behaviour and to contemporary research on risk assessment. Implications for the practice of rehabilitation of convicted young offenders are discussed. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Psychology, Stockholm University, 2010. 67 p.
Keyword
Young offenders, Rehabilitation, Adolescence, Developmental psychology, Prevention, Risk assessment, Juvenile justice, Recidivism, Mental health
National Category
Psychology
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-42465 (URN)978-91-7447-120-5 (ISBN)
Public defence
2010-10-01, David Magnussonsalen (U31), hus 8, 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 1: In press Paper 2: Submitted. Paper 3: Submitted.Available from: 2010-09-09 Created: 2010-09-01 Last updated: 2010-09-10Bibliographically approved

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