Youth Psychosocial Maturity and Delinquency
Liu, Beverly C. C.
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Adolescence is a critical stage for psychosocial development. Prior criminal justice research on youth psychosocial maturity has examined the associations between temperance, future perspectives, and offending. Few studies, however, have focused on specifically examining the influence of sense of self, self-concept, and work orientation—subcomponents of psychosocial maturity—on offending from adolescence to emerging adulthood. Using data from the Research on Pathways to Desistance study, the current study examines factors that have been overlooked by previous Pathways studies on youth psychosocial maturity and offending. This study explores the predictive value of youth identity, self-reliance, and work orientation on the likelihood of self-reported re-offending in a sample of serious juvenile offenders. Results from this study reveal that youths who scored higher in work orientation during adolescence had lower odds of self-reported re-offending. Identity and self-reliance were not significant predictors of recidivism. These findings emphasize the importance of building work orientation among at-risk youths, which could possibly be incorporated into juvenile workforce development programs. A theoretical implication from this study is that previously overlooked components of psychosocial maturity should be revisited, as it may add to the current understanding of youth psychosocial maturity and its relation to recidivism.