Self-conceptions of youthful drug offenders

Date

1971-04

Authors

DiGregorio, Anthony J.,1937-

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title

Publisher

Sam Houston State University

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to determine the nature of differences in self-conceptions, if any, between youthful first offenders incarcerated for drug offenses who were also drug users and youthful first offenders incarcerated for non-drug offenses who were not drug users. Using Symbolic Interaction as a base theory, it was believed that since offenders committed different types of offenses, their self-conceptions must also differ. Ultimate confirmation of this theory would mean that rehabilitative efforts might also need to differ in relation to the type of offense committed. Completion of the study would also provide base statistics in self-conceptions against which future research in the area might be compared. Methods The primary source of data for this study consisted of protocols obtained from the administration of the Twenty Statements Test to a sample of 61 first offender felons, 17 to 22 years old, incarcerated for drug offenses in the Ferguson Unit of the Texas Department of Corrections who were admitted drug users, and those protocols obtained from a sample of 61 similar felons who were incarcerated for non-drug offenses and were not admitted drug users. The protocols were coded by two methods developed by researchers who have utilized the Twenty Statements Test with general populations and the results were used to compare the two sample groups with each other and also with the general populations, where possible. Comparisons were drawn over a range of thirty-eight variables. Significant differences in demographic background of the two samples were also reported as they concerned the structure of the samples and possible variations in response. The Chi Square test of the significance of the difference between the groups was used to measure the extent of variation in response between the groups. Secondary sources included books, articles, reports and previous research in the field of self-concept and Symbolic Interaction. Findings From the data gathered during this research, it was found that: (1) Significant differences in self-conceptions exist between drug users and non-drug users, 17 to 22 years old, incarcerated in the Texas Department of Corrections during the period September 30, 1969, to September 30, 1970, as first offender felons. (2) Drug use felons are, on the average, older, more intelligent and of greater educational achievement level than non-drug use felons. (3) Drug use felons are overwhelmingly Caucasian and commit offenses involving marijuana and non-narcotic dangerous drugs. (4) A significantly smaller percentage of drug use felons view themselves in nuclear family and kinship roles than non-drug use felons, however, their identification with these roles does not significantly differ from that of a general population. (5) A significantly greater percentage of drug use felons view themselves in their deviant role than non-drug use felons. (6) A significantly greater percentage of drug use felons place themselves in abstract and ideological categories in relation to their self-concept than non-drug use felons. (7) A significantly smaller percentage of drug use felons describe themselves in terms of moral worth than non-drug use felons or the general population. (8) A significantly smaller percentage of drug use felons describe themselves by characteristics of sex, age name, and race than non-drug use felons or the general population. (9) The differences observed for the drug use felons increases in the direct relation to the number of drug offenses for which confined.

Description

Keywords

Drug abuse, Crime

Citation