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Cognitive-Behavioral Theory and Interventions for Crime and Delinquency (From Behavioral Approaches to Crime and Delinquency: A Handbook of Application, Research, and Concepts, P 477-497, 1987, Edward K Morris and Curtis J Braukmann, eds. -- See NCJ-111159)

NCJ Number
J J Platt; M F Prout
Date Published
21 pages
This chapter discusses cognitive-behavioral theory and its application to building skills in delinquents, especially interpersonal cognitive problemsolving skills.
The relationship of cognitive and behavioral theory is discussed in the first section. Cognitive-behavioral theory combines the principles of social and developmental psychology and those of experimental-clinical psychology. The theory, as applied to crime and delinquency, posits that social behavior is learned. For example, when children see parents use aggression as a form of discipline, they begin to view aggression as a style of conflict resolution. Often the environment teaches and reinforces skills that are antisocial and destructive. The cognitive-behavioral approach aids delinquents in learning new socially appropriate skills in recognizing and solving their problems and conflicts. They learn to recognize that a problem exists, to define the problem by putting it into words, to identify the feelings associated with the problem, to separate facts from opinions, to obtain all the necessary information, to identify alternative solutions, to consider all the consequences, and to act on the best choice. For many delinquent adolescents, the development and use of these skills provides them with a sense of control over their lives that was missing when they did not possess problemsolving skills. Because it reduces recidivism, cognitive-behavioral therapy is seen as a promising treatment for delinquent behavior. 97 references.