Swedish young offenders in community-based rehabilitative programmes : Patterns of antisocial behaviour, mental health, and recidivism
Abstract: The overall aim of this thesis was to explore patterns of antisocial behaviour, mental health and recidivism among Swedish young offenders in community-based rehabilitative programmes (n=189). Study I explored the character and severity of self-reported behavioural problems prior to programme participation. Four distinct subgroups were identified: subgroup (SG) 1 (n=60), boys exhibiting adolescent delinquency; SG 2 (n=65), boys exhibiting pronounced adolescent delinquency; SG 3 (n=48), boys exhibiting pronounced adolescent delinquency as well as criminality including violence; SG 4 (n=16), boys exhibiting pronounced adolescent delinquency as well as criminality including violence and drug-related crimes. Study II investigated the mental health of the participants, by means of the Strengths and Difficulty Questionnaire (SDQ). When relating SDQ-scores to the previously identified subgroups, SG 1 with the least prominent history of antisocial behaviour was found to resemble a normative sample, while the subgroups with more extensive histories of antisocial behaviour had significantly elevated scores on the hyperactivity/inattention and conduct problem scales. Study III investigated recidivism in criminality in the 18-months following programme start, finding that 60% of the participants had been registered as suspected of new crimes. SG 3 and 4 with the most extensive histories of antisocial behaviour were responsible for a significantly larger part of recidivism than expected. By contrast, SG 1, reporting the least antisocial behaviour in their past, was responsible for a significantly smaller part of the recidivism. This was true for all crimes as well as crimes of violence specifically, confirming the subgroups identified based on the self-reports. The results are related to developmental theories of antisocial behaviour and to contemporary research on risk assessment. Implications for the practice of rehabilitation of convicted young offenders are discussed.
CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE WHOLE DISSERTATION. (in PDF format)