Doctor of Philosophy
Marilyn T. Erickson
Research in the area of juvenile delinquency has reported personality and background differences between delinquents who have committed certain types of offenses (Randolph, l96l; Mizushima and DeVos, 1967). The major purpose of this study was to examine the academic characteristics of certain classifications of delinquent offenders. Specifically, the incidences of three school-related problems and absence of any of these problems were compared for certain classifications of offenders. The comparisons that were made were group versus individual offenses, person versus property offenses, and actual aggressors versus threatened aggressors. A second aspect of the study involved a comparative investigation of the personality characteristics of juvenile offenders.
Ninety-nine 13-15 year old male offenders, committed to the state's institutional correctional system for the first time, were enlisted as subjects. While awaiting disposition at a reception and diagnostic center, subjects were administered the Slosson Intelligence Test (SIT) as an individual intelligence measure and the High School Personality Questionnaire (HSPQ) as a personality measure. An assessment of academic achievement level was made on the basis of the Wide Range Achievement Test (WRAT), which was routinely administered by educational evaluators to all children passing through the reception and diagnostic center.
Subjects scoring 69 or less on the SIT were classified as psychometrically mentally retarded. A discrepancy model formula (bond and Tinker, 1973) was employed to identify underachievers and specific academic deficiencies. Delinquents scoring two or more years below expected achievement levels on all three subtests of the WRAT were classified as underachievers, while delinquents scoring below in only one or two subtests were classified as having specific academic deficiencies. The classification of a subject as to type of offender was made on the basis of his committing offense and reported history of offenses.
Nearly 90% of the subjects were classified as having school related problems. An examination of the results indicated that the only significant relationship between the school-related groups and the offense classifications was that underachievers were more likely to be group offenders than individual offenders. A trend was found indicating that delinquents with specific academic deficiencies were more likely to be individual offenders than group offenders. The results of the HSPQ revealed few differences among the four groups. Psychometrically mentally retarded delinquents indicated that they felt more socially isolated than delinquents from the other groups. Personality comparisons for offense groups revealed several findings: (l) group offenders appeared to be more self-assured and secure than individual offenders, (2) group offenders were more socially conforming and moralistic than individual offenders, (3) individual offenders appeared to be more intelligent than group offenders, (4) individual offenders were less serious than group offenders, (5) property offenders were found to be more emotionally stable and less easily upset than person offenders, and (6) person offenders were found to be more intelligent than property offenders.
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