Predicting Recidivism in Juvenile Offenders by Levels of Emotional Disturbance, Severity of Offense, and Demographic Background
AuthorVasquez, Christina Marie
AdvisorMorris, Richard J.
Committee ChairMorris, Richard J.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractCurrent research indicates a disproportionate number of youth having an emotional disturbance within the juvenile justice system. The purpose of the present study was to examine if recidivism can be predicted in juvenile offenders based on the youths' emotional disturbance score as measured by the Massachusetts Youth Screening Instrument-Version 2 (MAYSI-2) and severity of offense at their first physical arrest, as well as their age, gender, ethnicity, and median range of income by zip code (MRoI). Following Agnew's General Strain Theory, it was hypothesized that high scores on the MAYSI-2 scales, in addition to severity of offense and specific demographic variables would predict recidivism.Participants consisted of 863 records of juvenile offenders at a juvenile court detention center in Southern Arizona. The study consisted of 70% males and 30% females, with an age range of 12 to 16 years of age and ethnic breakdown consisting of 51% Hispanics, 36% Caucasians, 9% African Americans, and 4% Native Americans. This secondary data extraction included youths who were physically arrested for the first time during the 2008-year and their recidivism rate through the 2009-year. Results through logistic regression models indicated that two of the four MAYSI-2 scales significantly predicted recidivism. Specifically, youth who scored high versus low on the Alcohol/Drug Use scale had an increased factor of 1.83 times more likely to recidivate. Youth who answered "yes" on all five items on the Traumatic Experiences scale also predicted recidivism, with an increased factor of 4.37 times more likely to recidivate. Severity of offense also predicted recidivism, as well as age and MRoI. Results were also found to be significant within certain ethnic groups but not between the ethnic groups. Implications of these findings, limitations, and areas of future research are also discussed.
Degree ProgramGraduate College