Date of Award
Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)
Graduate Department of Clinical Psychology
Mary Peterson, PhD
Kathleen Gathercoal, Ph.D
Nancy Thurston, PhD
Juvenile crime has become an increasingly notable problem in society. Historically, a large portion of research on juvenile offenders centers on the psychological diagnosis of conduct disorder. Juveniles diagnosed with Conduct Disorder often possess other high-risk factors that further complicate their problematic behaviors. For example, deviant peer groups reinforce such behaviors as do home environments where parents exhibit antisocial behaviors and substance abuse (Kronenberger & Meyer, 2001 ). Female offenders constitute a small but important part of the population of adolescents who become involved in the legal system, yet they have been the subject of minimal research. Although only 7-27% of juvenile offenders are female, incarceration rates for females are the fastest growing rates of any inmate population (Leve & Chamberlain, 2004; Moses, 2001; Schrum & Salekin, 2006). Psychological assessment plays a significant role in the rehabilitative treatment planning that occurs in forensic settings. More specifically, the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Differentiate Adjudicated From Nonadjudicated Adolescent Females iv Inventory- Adolescent (MMPI-A) has a long history of being used to facilitate assessment and treatment with adjudicated minors. Previous research by Morton, Farris, and Brenowitz (2002) has found significantly higher scores on the clinical scales, specifically Scales 6 - Paranoia (Pa) and 4 - Psychopathic Deviate (Pd). In this study, 33 nonadjudicated adolescent females and 42 adjudicated adolescent females were given the MMPI-A. Three scales of the MMPI-A (Clinical Scale 4 Pd, Content Scale - Adolescent-Conduct Problems (A-Con) and Content Scale Adolescent-Cynicism (A-Cyn)) were used during this assessment. It was hypothesized that the adjudicated sample would score significantly higher on all 3 scales. An independent sample t-test was used and significant results were found on scales 4 Pd and A-Con, while no significance was found on A-Cyn. These findings parallel previous research and speak to the possible utility of the MMPI-A in the assessment of adjudicated female minors. Also, significant differences were found by age group within the adjudicated sample, while no differences were found by age group within the nonadjudicated sample. This finding could reflect the late-adolescence influences of a deviant peer group or support a delayed-onset model for criminogenic behavior in adolescent females (Silverthorn and Frick 1999).
Robbins, Brandon M., "Using Selected Scales of the MMPI-A to Differentiate Adjudicated From Nonadjudicated Adolescent Females." (2007). Doctor of Psychology (PsyD). 494.