Journal of Criminal Justice Volume: 41 Issue: 2 Dated: March/April 2013 Pages: 108-114
This article reports on research aimed at developing and validating the Decisional Balance Scale for Adolescent Offenders.
The Decisional Balance Scale for Adolescent Offenders (DBS-AO) is a measure designed to "systematically evaluate adolescent offenders' motivation to end or maintain their criminal behaviors." This article reports on research aimed at developing and validating an item pool for DBS-AO that would be relevant to adolescent offenders. In order to develop the item pool, 5 focus groups were conducted with a sample of male adolescent offenders, n=239, housed at a maximum-security adolescent facility within the Texas Youth Commission system. The focus groups resulted in 66 new items generated for the DBS-AO that had language and content tailored to adolescent offenders. These 66 items were then merged into 8 scales. Participants' scores on the scales of the DBS-AO were then compared to those on the Precontemplative and Contemplative scales of the Stages of Change Scale (SOCS), the three dimensions of the Antisocial Process Screening Device (APSD), and the Paulhus Deception Scale (PDS) Impression Management scale. The analysis identified three factors that influence adolescent offenders' motivation to change their criminal behaviors. This finding suggests that the DBS-AO can provide reliable indicators of adolescent offenders' motivation to change their behavior and successfully complete a behavior treatment program for at risk youth. Study limitations are discussed. Tables, appendix, and references