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.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Psychiatry and Mental health