Juvenile delinquency and learning disabilities: the contribution of negative affectivity and high arousability

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Title: Juvenile delinquency and learning disabilities: the contribution of negative affectivity and high arousability
Author: Hook, Shelly Wilson
Abstract: Current literature reports that learning -disabled adolescents make up a disproportionate percentage of the juvenile delinquent population . Learning -disabled students display several psycho -social attributes that have been proposed to contribute to the probability of delinquency including : low self esteem as the result of academic failure , poor social competence , impulsivity and stimulus seeking . In spite of the academic , social and behavior problems that many learning -disabled adolescents have , the fact remains that the majority of LD adolescents do not engage in delinquent behaviors . The link between juvenile delinquency and learning disabilities may be more complex than studies of these individual variables have suggested in the past . The purpose of this study was to use a multifactorial approach in examining the link between learning disabilities and delinquency , incorporating the constructs of negative affectivity and high arousability . Survey data were collected from the adolescents in the Project Intercept Program , including the Dorothy Lomax Altemative School and the Lubbock County Youth Center , and from Frenship junior high and Roosevelt junior high and high schools . Four groups , delinquent learning -disabled , delinquent non -learning -disabled , non -delinquent learning disabled and non -delinquent non -leaming -disabled adolescents , were compared on negative affectivity , positive affect , arousability , substance use , measured reading , spelling and arithmetic achievement and estimated Full -Scale IQ . It was proposed that the prevalence of learning disabilities would be higher in the delinquent sample than in the non -delinquent sample . It was also proposed that scores on negative affectivity , arousability and substance use would rank the groups in the following order : delinquent learning -disabled , delinquent non -learning -disabled , non -delinquent learning - disabled , and non -delinquent nonlearning -disabled . It was found that the prevalence of learning disabilities was not higher within the delinquent sample as compared to the non -delinquent sample . In addition , learning disabled adolescents did not report higher rates of delinquent activity than non -learning disabled adolescents . Using the Johnckheere test for ordered alternatives , it was determined that the proposed ranking of the groups on negative affect , arousability and substance use was supported . It was also determined that high levels of negative affect , high levels of arousability , low levels of positive affect , poor academic achievement , low Full -Scale IQ and alcohol and drug use served as significant predictors of delinquent activity .
URI: http : / /hdl .handle .net /2346 /15864
Date: 1998-05

Citation

Juvenile delinquency and learning disabilities: the contribution of negative affectivity and high arousability. Doctoral dissertation, Texas Tech University. Available electronically from http : / /hdl .handle .net /2346 /15864 .

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