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Title: Aggressive adolescent offenders and the role of biased facial affect perception
Author: Thomas, Jamie Mark
ISNI:       0000 0004 5359 4295
Awarding Body: University of Nottingham
Current Institution: University of Nottingham
Date of Award: 2014
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Without effective intervention adolescent offending has been found to be resistant to change and antisocial behaviour, including violent offending behaviour, often continues into adulthood (Tarolla et al., 2002). However, a systematic review of the existing literature revealed that there was an urgent need for contemporary empirically based interventions with aggressive adolescent offenders. A relatively consistent finding within this population is a perceptual bias towards perceiving ambiguous facial cues as displaying anger, leading some theorists to suggest a possible explanatory pathway (Calvete & Orue, 2011). Thus, the current dissertation extends this concept by exploring the efficacy of a computer-based retraining programme designed to shift these biases, at reducing subsequent aggressive behaviour. Utilising a sample taken from a secure children's home in South Wales, the hypothesised association between performance on the facial recognition retraining programme and a reduction in subsequent aggressive behaviour was elucidated. An indepth case study of one of the participants, including case formulation, functional analysis, and psychometric evaluation, outlined the parameters of this change at an individual level. One such psychometric measure was the State Trait Anger Expression Inventory - 2nd Edition (STAXI-2; Spielberger, 1999). A critique of the use of the measure within forensic settings I found that high face validity means that when the STAXI-2 is used as the basis for treatment decisions it should be administered and interpreted in conjunction with a recognised measure of social desirability bias to improve the measure's validity. An overall conclusion is drawn and the implications of the study on further research are discussed.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Foren.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available