The impact of introspection and resilience on abstention and desistance from delinquent behavior among adolescents at risk

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Abstract

This study examines the subjective processes of introspection of three groups of adolescents at risk and in distress and analyzes their perceived impact on the development of resilience and, consequently, the abstention and desistence from criminal conduct or, alternatively, the intensification of delinquent behavior. The three groups are: stable normal adolescents with neither past nor current involvement in criminal behavior; persistent criminal adolescents with past and current involvement in criminal activities; adolescents limited to temporary delinquent behavior with a criminal past but no current involvement in delinquent behavior. Our main findings are that (a) the processes of introspection and self-exploration of risk and distress factors have a perceived positive impact on current and future modes of thought and behavior among stable normal adolescents and juveniles limited to temporary delinquent behavior; (b) processes of introspection have a positive impact on the development of resilience and internal change among adolescents limited to temporary delinquent behavior. We conclude that, first, processes of introspection assist in the development of resilience among various groups of adolescents at risk and, consequently, in the desistence and abstention from crime; second, periods of crises and distress among adolescents at risk may serve as opportunities for introspection and possible shift from a criminal lifestyle to a normal one; and, third, failure to assume responsibility for their involvement in delinquent behavior may lead criminal adolescents at risk to develop deterministic attitudes toward numerous distress and risk factors in their lives and, consequently, continue with their criminal lifestyles.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)111-128
Number of pages18
JournalEuropean Journal of Criminology
Volume13
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2016

Keywords

  • Adolescent
  • introspection
  • resilience
  • risk

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Law

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