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Self-Control Assessments and Implications for Predicting Adolescent Offending

NCJ Number
Journal of Youth and Adolescence Volume: 45 Issue: 4 Dated: April 2016 Pages: 701-712
A. Fine; L. Steinberg
Date Published
April 2016
12 pages
This study (a) examined relationships between self-reported self-control on the Weinberger Adjustment Inventory with Go/No-Go response inhibition, and (b) compared the predictive utility of both assessment strategies for short- and long-term adolescent reoffending.
Although low self-control is consistently related to adolescent offending, it is unknown whether self-report measures or laboratory behavior tasks yield better predictive utility, or if a combination yields incremental predictive power. This is particularly important because developmental theory indicates that self-control is related to adolescent offending and, consequently, risk assessments rely on self-control measures. The current study used longitudinal data from the Crossroads Study of male, first-time adolescent offenders ages 13-17 (N = 930; 46 percent Hispanic/Latino, 37 percent Black/African-American, 15 percent non-Hispanic White, 2 percent other race). The study results indicate that the measures are largely unrelated, and that the self-report measure is a better indicator of both short- and long-term reoffending. The laboratory task measure does not add value to what is already predicted by the self-report measure. Implications for assessing self-control during adolescence and consequences of assessment strategy are discussed. (Publisher abstract modified)