Assessing delinquent attributions and planning interventions

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Assessing delinquent attributions and planning interventions

Assessing delinquent

attributions and planning

interventions

Neven Ricijaš, Ph.D.

Department of Behavioural Disorders

Faculty of Education and Rehabilitation Sciences

University of Zagreb


Why do juveniles commit

criminal offences?

What are the reasons for their

delinquent behaviour?


Risk/Need Factors: The Central Eight

(Andrews & Bonta, 2006)

1. History of Antisocial Behaviour

2. Antisocial Personality Pattern

3. Antisocial Cognition

4. Antisocial Associates

5. Family/Marital Circumstances

6. School/Work

7. Leisure/Recreation

8. Substance Abuse


What do juveniles think, why do

they commit criminal offences?

How do they attribute their

delinquent behaviour?

Is it important how the attribute

their delinquent behaviour?


Delinquent Attribution Scale

DAS-J

(version for Juveniles)

- Steps in scale construction -


1st step – Defining theoretical background

Weiner’s

attribution

theory

Criminogenic

risk/need

approach


Weiner’s attribution theory

• Weiner developed a theoretical framework that has

become very influential in social psychology today.

• Attribution theory assumes that people try to

determine why people do what they do, that is,

interpret causes to an event or behavior.

• A three-stage process underlies an attribution:




behavior must be observed/perceived

behavior must be determined to be intentional

behavior attributed to internal or external causes


Weiner’s attribution theory

• Attributions are classified along three causal

dimensions:

1. locus of control (two poles: internal vs. external)

2. stability (do causes change over time or not?)

3. controllability (causes one can control such as

skills vs. causes one cannot control such as luck,

others’ actions, etc.)


Weiner’s attribution theory

INTERNAL

EXTERNAL

STABLE UNSTABLE STABLE UNSTABILE

HAS NO

CONTROL

HAS

CONTROL


Integration of Weiner’s attribution theory

with Criminogenic Risk/Need Theory

INTERNAL

EXTERNAL

STABLE UNSTABLE STABLE UNSTABLE

HAS NO

CONTROL

Poor selfcontrol

Impulsive

attack

Poor family

relationship

Drunkenness

HAS

CONTROL

Need for

taking risks

Boredom

Earnings

Current

financial

gains


2nd step – Generating item pool

1. Defining categories (7 internal and 7 external

categories)

2. Personal ideas (generating items)

3. Three focus groups with juvenile delinquents in

correctional institution

a) Generating items

b) Checking all 156 items

Preliminary version of the Scale has 140 items.

(1 = completely untrue; 5 = completely true)


3rd step – Conducting pilot research

N = 108 juvenile delinquents

in the city of Zagreb

a) On probation

b) In open residential facility

c) In closed correctional institution

Mage = 17,28 SDage = 1,622

(Min. 14 - Max. 21)


4th step – Item reduction steps

1. Poor distribution

2. Factor structure of each category

3. Inter-item and item-total correlations

4. Factor structure of the whole internal and

external domain


Final Research and Results


Sample

• N=335 male juvenile delinquents in the

Republic of Croatia

• 56,1% institutional treatment

• 43,9% on probation

• Mage = 17,1 (SDage = 1,85)

• Minage = 14 Maxage = 21


Delinquent Attribution Scale

• final version has 60 items

• two subscales:



internal (4 factors = 24 items)

external (8 factors = 36 itmes)


Delinquent Attribution Scale

Factors

No.

Items

%

variance

α -

Cronbach

Internal subscale 24 57,82 ,906

1. Antisocial tendencies*** 12 25,98 ,913

2. Susceptibility to peers 4 11,12 ,813

3. Thoughtlessness 4 10,65 ,733

4. Personal frustration 4 10,12 ,770

*** this factor consists of three areas: (1) delinquent identity, (2) antisocial

attitudes, (3) fun and excitement


Delinquent Attribution Scale

Factors

No.

Items

%

variance

α -

Cronbach

External subscale 36 68,96 ,923

1. Poverty and material gain 8 12,83 ,901

2. Poor family relationships 4 10,64 ,811

3. Drugs 4 9,41 ,911

4. Alcohol 4 9,36 ,908

5. Antisocial peers 4 7,60 ,811

6. Permissive parents 4 7,15 ,786

7. Situation 4 6,03 ,705

8. Over-controlling parents 4 5,94 ,802


Differences in delinquent attributions regarding the

frequency of delinquent behaviour (ANOVA)

4

3,5

3

2,5

** **

**

** **

**

** **

**

2

1,5

1

ANTISOCIAL TENDENCIES

PERSONAL FRUSTRATION

SUSCEPTIBILITY TO PEERS

THOUGHTLESSNESS

POVERTY

POOR FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS

DRUGS

ALCOHOL

ANTISOCIAL PEERS

PERMISIVE PARENTS

SITUATIONS

OVER-CONTROLLING PARENTS

RARELY OFTEN VERY OFTEN


Differences in delinquent attributions regarding the lenght

of delinquent behaviour (ANOVA)

4

3,5

3

2,5

** **

**

**

**

**

**

*

2

1,5

1

ANTISOCIAL TENDENCIES

PERSONAL FRUSTRATION

SUSCEPTIBILITY TO PEERS

THOUGHTLESSNESS

POVERTY

POOR FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS

DRUGS

ALCOHOL

ANTISOCIAL PEERS

PERMISIVE PARENTS

SITUATIONS

OVER-CONTROLLING PARENTS

1 YEAR 2 YEARS 3 YEARS 4 OR MORE YEARS


Differences in delinquent attributions regarding the

beginning of delinquent behaviour (t-test)

4

3,5

3

2,5

2

**

**

**

*

**

**

**

*

1,5

1

ANTISOCIAL TENDENCIES

PERSONAL FRUSTRATION

SUSCEPTIBILITY TO PEERS

THOUGHTLESSNESS

POVERTY

POOR FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS

DRUGS

ALCOHOL

ANTISOCIAL PEERS

PERMISIVE PARENTS

SITUATIONS

OVER-CONTROLLING PARENTS

EARLY-STARTERS

LATE-STARTERS


Differences between low-risk and high-risk delinquents

LOW-RISK

HIGH-RISK

ANTISOCIAL

TENDENCIES

THOUGHTLESSNESS

SITUATON

PERSONAL

FRUSTRATION

ANTISOCIAL PEERS

POVERTY AND

MATERIAL GAIN

DRUGS

ALCOHOL


LEVEL OF RISK

DELINQUENT ATTRIBUTIONS

HIGH-RISK

Commit various criminal offences,

from small delicts to serious

criminal acts (a lot of risk

behaviour, property and violence

offences and drug offences).

MODERATE-RISK

Commit small delicts, different risk

behaviours and property offences.

LOW-RISK

Commit only small delicts and risk

behaviour.

1. Drugs

2. Antisocial tendencies

3. Poverty and material gain

4. Antisocial peers

5. Alcohol

6. Personal frustration

1. Thoughtlessness

2. Antisocial tendencies

3. Antisocial peers

4. Personal frustration

5. Situation

1. Poor family relationships

2. Alcohol

3. Situation


1.0 1.0 1.0 1.0 1.0 1.0

Mean

Antisocial

tendencies

Personal

frustration

Susceptibility

to peers

Thoughtlessness

Poverty and

meterial gain

Antisocial

peers

5

5.0

.

.

5.0

.

.

5.0

.

.

5.0

.

.

5.0

.

.

5.0

.

.

4

4.0

.

.

4.0

.

.

4.0

.

.

4.0

.

.

4.0

.

.

4.0

.

.

3

3.0

.

.

3.0

.

.

3.0

.

.

3.0

.

.

3.0

.

.

3.0

.

.

2

2.0

.

.

2.0

.

.

2.0

.

.

2.0

.

.

2.0

.

.

2.0

.

.

1 1.0 1.0 1.0 1.0 1.0 1.0

Mean Drugs Alcohol

Poor family

relationships

Permisive

parents

Overcontrolling

p.

Situation

5

5.0

.

.

5.0

.

.

5.0

.

.

5.0

.

.

5.0

.

.

5.0

.

.

4

4.0

.

.

4.0

.

.

4.0

.

.

4.0

.

.

4.0

.

.

4.0

.

.

3

3.0

.

.

3.0

.

.

3.0

.

.

3.0

.

.

3.0

.

.

3.0

.

.

2

2.0

.

.

2.0

.

.

2.0

.

.

2.0

.

.

2.0

.

.

2.0

.

.


Implications for planning interventions

DAS aims to assess the perspective of juvenile

delinquents regarding the reasons for their delinquent

behaviour

it focuses on dynamic risk factors

the structure of attributions can differentiate various types

of juvenile delinquents (low/high risk)

it could be a useful tool to gain additional information

about the status of a juvenile and his cognitive believes,

which has implications in planning interventions as well as

in expected outcomes


Thank you for your attention!

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