The Importance of the Interaction of Developmental Factors and Social Context in Serious Adolescent Offenders

Laurence Steinberg, Temple University

There is very limited information available on the process of adolescent development in serious adolescent offenders. In general, research on this group of adolescents has focused on arrest histories, antisocial peers, and markers of continued criminal involvement. There is substantial reason to believe, however, that many of the factors that predict success and positive adjustment in "normal" adolescents are also related to positive outcomes in offending adolescents. The period of late adolescence, for example, is typically marked by a shift in psychosocial maturity as well as an adjustment of social networks and family relationships. This presentation will present the rationale for examining develo9pmental variables such as these and considering changes in social context in particular as relevant considerations for mapping out the likely pathways to desistance for serious adolescent offenders.

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Updated 05/20/2006