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Title: Testing the predictive value of antisocial beliefs and attitudes over offending behaviour in adolescents
Author: Esposito, Mirko
ISNI:       0000 0005 0288 4281
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2020
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Aims: The study aimed to ascertain the degree to which antisocial beliefs could longitudinally predict risk of recidivism in adolescents and explored the contribution of possible other contributing factors to this relationship. Method: A set of inferential and hierarchical models was tested in a large dataset collected for the Systemic Therapy for at Risk Teens (START) trial using Structural Equation Modelling (SEM). Alongside antisocial beliefs, the inferential model also included factors such as demographic variables, as well as emotional and attentional disturbances because of their established links with increasing the risk for adolescents to engage in offending behaviour. Results: Higher levels of antisocial beliefs were found to be significantly linked with higher incidence of recidivism in adolescents in the subsequent 18 months. This finding remained consistent when other variables were included in the model (e.g. rate of prior offending as a covariate). Interestingly, high levels of self-reported emotional disturbances were found to ameliorate the risk of re-offending in the sample. The level of self-reported attentional disturbances was not found to be associated with offending. The only static factor that was found to be linked with higher risk of offending was a higher frequency of prior offending; demographic factors such as age and gender did not predict offending. Conclusions: Antisocial beliefs and attitudes were found to be independently predictive of recidivism (in the following 18 months) in adolescents. Antisocial beliefs and attitudes can be considered a cognitive dynamic risk factor and can therefore be targeted by cognitive interventions. Rehabilitation programs for young offenders would likely benefit from a greater focus on antisocial beliefs and attitudes when assessing, managing and reducing risk of recidivism.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available