This study explored the ability of selected subscales of the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory-Adolescent; an objective measure of personality used in the psychological evaluation of juvenile delinquents (Archer & Krishnamurthy, 2002), to predict recidivism. Previous literature suggested the subscales reflecting “excitatory” behavior have been useful in discriminating delinquent from nondelinquent adolescents. In this study, three scales that reflect excitatory behavior, including one Clinical Scale (4- Psychopathic Deviate) and two of the Content Scales (Adolescent-Conduct Problems and Adolescent-Cynicism), were used to predict recidivism for adjudicated minors. For the purposes of this study, recidivism was defined by legal charges, excluding detainment. Participants included 107 males, ages 12-17 (x= 14.5 sd= 1.25), with the following ethnic representation, 32 Caucasian (30%), 34 Native American (32%), and 41 Hispanic American (38%). Juveniles were assessed and then followed for one-year post-assessment, and recidivism was measured according to the presence or absence of subsequent legal charges, not including detainment. Results showed that both A-Conduct Problems and Scale 4 successfully predicted recidivism with the strongest relationship between A-Con and re-offense. In the regression analysis, A-Con explained 29.8% of the variance, and Scale 4 increased the predictive utility by 2.7% accounting for 32% of the variance in recidivism. Results suggest that the content of the A-Con scale may capture some of the attitudes and behaviors that characterize these high-risk adolescents.
Previously published in Applied Psychology in Criminal Justice, 2008, 4(2), 172-181. Posted with permission.