Psychological correlates of violent and non-violent Hong Kong juvenile probationers

Heng Choon Oliver Chan, Wing Hong Chui
Behavioral Sciences & the Law 2012, 30 (2): 103-20
There is little known about Hong Kong juvenile offenders on probation. The purpose of this study was to compare Hong Kong juvenile violent with non-violent probationers on static demographic and psychological variables. The study comprised 109 male juvenile probationers aged 14-20 years (M = 16.97, SD = 1.44) in community transitional housing; 34 were adjudicated for violent offenses, while 75 were non-violent. The Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (RSES), Satisfaction with Life Scale (SWLS), Social Bonding Scale-Theft (SBS-T), Social Bonding Scale-Violent Crime (SBS-VC), Positive and Negative Affect Scales (PANAS), Impulsiveness Scale-Short Form (IS-SF) and CRIME-PICS II were administered to measure self-esteem, life satisfaction, social bond, positive and negative affect, impulsivity, pro-offending attitudes, and self-perceived life problems. Data on onset age of delinquent behavior, age of first adjudication, number of prior adjudications, and frequency of self-reported delinquency in the past year were also collected. t-tests were consistent with significant differences for violent offenders including higher self-esteem (p < 0.05). Non-violent offenders self-reported significantly more theft (p < 0.05) with a tendency to deny victim hurt more often (p < 0.01); 76.5% of violent offenders self-reported both violent and non-violent crime, while 58.7% of non-violent offenders reported only non-violent crime. For violent and non-violent offenders, the onset of delinquency was inversely related to the frequency of self-reported delinquency. Using ordinary least-squares (OLS) regression analyses, self-anticipated violent reoffending risk was predicted by age of onset, frequency of self-reported delinquency, social bond (inversely), and impulsivity, while non-violent reoffending risk was predicted by the number of prior convictions and self-reported delinquency. Only two psychological correlates, social bond and impulsivity, were related to violent delinquency; interventions are suggested.

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