The relationship between neutralizations and perceived delinquent labeling on criminal history in young offenders serving community orders

Ieva Cechaviciute, Dianna T. Kenny*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    10 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    This study examined the associations between young offenders' justifications for delinquent behavior, their perceptions of being labeled delinquent, and criminal history. Young offenders (N = 153) serving community orders completed a questionnaire that assessed their use of justifications for offending (neutralizations) and their perceptions of being delinquent. More than half did not believe that others labeled them as delinquent. Those who did believe so self-reported more delinquency and other problem behaviors but did not a have more serious official criminal history than unlabeled offenders. Factor analysis revealed a two-factor structure (minimization and rationalization) for the neutralization items. Neutralization factors were weak predictors of official criminal history but were stronger predictors of self-reported delinquency and other problem behaviors. Findings are discussed with reference to the implications for risk and responsivity principles in the treatment of young offenders.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)816-829
    Number of pages14
    JournalCriminal Justice and Behavior
    Volume34
    Issue number6
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Jun 2007

    Keywords

    • Delinquent label
    • Juvenile offenders
    • Labeling theory
    • Neutralization

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