Gender differences in mental health needs and recidivism in a sample of adolescent offenders
Chattha, Harpreet Kaur
Master of Arts
SubjectRecidivism Psychological aspects
Juvenile delinquency Psychological aspects
Juvenile delinquents Psychology
MetadataShow full item record
Study sample includes male and female court-referred youths in Thunder Bay, Northwestern Ontario.The present study investigated gender differences in mental health needs and correlates of recidivism in a sample of court-referred youths in Thunder Bay, Ontario. Archival data, consisting of mental health assessments used to assist dispositional proceedings and recidivism data collected from 1996 to 2000, was examined in an exploratory fashion that was aided, in part, by prior empirical literature and relevant theoretical constructs. The analyses of historical information and behaviour checklists suggest that gender-specific mental health needs do exist in adolescents committing crimes. Female youths were reported as experiencing more internalizing and externalizing problems than the males. In addition, significantly more of the females were exposed to maltreatment, compared to the male youths. Although overall survival distributions of recidivism did not differ significantly by gender, there were differences in the risk factors for recidivism for male and female youths. It was found that poor mother-child relationship, poor parental management and substance abuse problems significantly influenced recidivism in males, while internalizing problems influenced female recidivism. While limitations of the current study are acknowledged, the findings, to some extent, reconcile some of the discrepancies and ambiguities in the literature. Important directions for future research are also discussed.