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Examining the Within-Individual Effect of Delinquency on Psychosocial Maturity in Mid-adolescence

NCJ Number
Journal of Developmental and Life-Course Criminology Volume: 7 Issue: 4 Dated: 2021 Pages: 572-595
Date Published
24 pages

This study examines within-individual effect of delinquency on psychosocial maturity in mid-adolescence.


This study examining within-individual changes in offending in relation to psychosocial maturity among a school-based sample of middle adolescents finds that engaging in higher levels of delinquency during the previous 6 months is related to lower self-reported levels of psychosocial maturity. Extant literature examining the impact of psychosocial maturity on offending finds that diminished psychosocial maturity is related to increases in offending in adolescence, and gains in psychosocial maturity are related to desistance from offending in adulthood. Using 3-year panel data from a sample of 2,619 7th and 8th graders from a Midwestern county, the authors estimate a series of fixed-effect regression models to examine the within-individual effect of delinquency on six indicators of psychosocial maturity—impulse control, anger control, future orientation, self-esteem, school orientation, and resistance to peers. The authors discuss how this finding informs our theoretical understanding of psychosocial maturity’s complex relationship with offending across the life course as well as its implications for school-based programming. (Published Abstract Provided)

Date Published: January 1, 2021