Date of Award

2015

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Counseling and Human Services

Abstract

Juvenile delinquency remains a significant problem in the United States, not only for society but also for adolescents who become involved in the criminal justice system. Psychologists working within juvenile justice settings are often tasked with providing valuable information to the courts in the service of this vulnerable population. Such evaluation practices have consistently focused on identifying risk factors for recidivism, while largely neglecting the importance of strengths factors in predicting of positive outcomes for juvenile delinquents. There is a clear need to bridge the gap between the strengths-based variables identified by the literature and the actual assessment practices commonly used with court-involved adolescents.

The present study sought to address the disparity between research and clinical practice by testing the use of a widely-utilized personality assessment tool, the Millon Adolescent Clinical Inventory (MACI), in predicting probation completion for juvenile delinquents. Results indicated that variables suggested by the literature as indicators of strengths as measured by the MACI were overall not useful predictors of probation completion. Further, traditional deficits-based statistical modelling using the MACI had more clinical utility for predicting probation completion, and juvenile delinquents tended to cluster around deficits variables that collectively predicted lower rates of completion. Suggestions for future research include development of a strengths-based assessment tool for use with this population and to seek empirical support for the reporting of strengths.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

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