A longitudinal examination of serious adolescent offenders' perceptions of chances for success and engagement in behaviors accomplishing goals

A. M.R. Iselin, Edward P. Mulvey, Thomas A. Loughran, He Len Chung, Carol A. Schubert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations

Abstract

We examined antisocial adolescents' perceptions of the importance of and their ability to accomplish positive life outcomes (e.g., employment) and avoid negative ones (e.g., arrests) during their transition from adolescence to young adulthood. Participants were 1,354 adolescents from the Pathways to Desistance project, a multisite longitudinal study of seriously antisocial adolescents. Participants' perceptions of the importance and likelihood of accomplishing positive adult goals at one age uniquely predicted how often they engaged in behaviors that were consistent with these goals the following year. Our findings suggest that among serious adolescent offenders aspirations to achieve positive goals are related to engaging in behaviors that bring adolescents' current selves more in line with their aspired-to future selves. We discuss the implications of these findings for prevention and intervention efforts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)237-249
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Abnormal Child Psychology
Volume40
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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