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The Search for Protective Factors Against Recidivism in Adolescents Found Not Criminally Responsible on Account of Mental Disorder

  • Author / Creator
    Patricny, Nicol
  • In their quest to better understand the development and varying trajectories of psychopathology, developmental psychopathologists seek to identify both risk and protective factors (Rutter & Sroufe, 2000). This approach is relevant to forensic professionals working with young persons within forensic psychiatric settings. Understanding the full range of factors associated with desistance from offending in this population is of the utmost importance to forensic professionals. It pertains to the management and treatment of adolescents who have offended, with implications for their civil liberties and community safety alike. The primary goal of this research was to explore the impact of theoretical protective factors for nonrecidivism for individuals found Not Criminally Responsible on Account of Mental Disorder (NCRMD) during adolescence or emerging adulthood. The secondary goal was to measure the predictive validity of any such protective factors and determine whether they could be used within the context of risk assessment. I have organized and conducted this research within three independent papers that complement and build upon each other. First, I begin with Chapter 2, a comprehensive literature review of protective factors against delinquency and offending for adolescents. The purpose was to broadly examine the extant quantitative research on protective factors and later offending behaviour. This chapter summarizes 21 unique protective factors that are empirically supported by longitudinal research and sets the groundwork for the subsequent studies. Next, Chapter 3 is a quantitative study of protective factors against recidivism, specifically amongst the Alberta NCRMD adolescent population. The research is a long-term retrospective study. The main purpose was to explore whether any theoretical protective factors are associated with an increased likelihood of later general nonrecidivism or violent nonrecidivism. Lastly, Chapter 4 is a study that examined the predictive and incremental validity of the protective factor identified in Chapter 3, that is, the protective effect of resistance to antisocial peers. The study explored whether the inclusion of this protective factor into an existing well-validated risk assessment scale, the Violence Risk Appraisal Guide – Revised, is warranted. The studies in Chapter 3 and 4 are the first to examine protective factors for later nonrecidivism within a NCRMD adolescent population. Together, they provide empirical evidence that resistance to antisocial peers is an important protective factor for Not Criminally Responsible adolescents, one with possible implications for treatment and assessment within clinical forensic practice. To summarize, my paper-based dissertation is situated within a developmental psychopathology framework and explores the role of protective factors within the NCRMD adolescent population.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2021
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.