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Developing Self-Regulation, Delinquency Trajectories, and Juvenile Justice Outcomes in Young Women

Award Information

Award #
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2013, $496,073)

Under Category 2 of the Field-Initiated Research and Evaluation solicitation, OJJDP will support the extension or expansion of relevant ongoing/existing longitudinal studies to investigate the developmental trajectories of youth from childhood through adolescence into young adulthood, in terms of the onset, persistence, escalation, and desistance of delinquent/criminal behaviors and contact with the justice system. Under Category 2, OJJDP will consider awarding supplemental funding to successful applicants for an additional 2 years to continue the longitudinal data collection effort, pending successful completion of the initial year's research milestones and objectives, submission of all required deliverables, and the availability of appropriated funds.

Disparate outcomes of youth who have been involved in the Juvenile Justice System (JJS) may reflect the extent to which the type and timing of JJS involvement is attuned to the nature of normative adolescent development, especially in terms of the developmental course of delinquency and individual differences in self-regulation maturation. At present, however, little is known about the ways in which JJS services intersect with and influence normative development, and how change in these processes will impact delinquency trajectories. Even less is known about these developmental relationships in female adolescents, despite the rapid increase in female involvement in the JJS in recent years.

The goals of this research are to contribute critical information that will advance knowledge to support effective JJS programs and policies by providing a research base for the interfaces between adolescent self-regulation development, delinquency, and JJS involvement. The project will achieve these goals by building on a large, longitudinal, racially diverse, urban community sample of females that has been followed annually for 13 years since childhood: the Pittsburgh Girls Study (PGS).

New data will be collected from participants through age 20 years to extend beyond the existing PGS dataset in order to capture patterns of delinquency persistence and desistance, and to assess outcomes in young adulthood. A total of 2,541 participants will be interviewed during Years 1-3 of the proposed study. Official juvenile justice and adult criminal records will also be gathered. The new interview data will be combined with multiple waves of existing multi-informant data, and longitudinal analyses will be conducted to examine the mediational effects of self-regulation development on the relationship between JJS involvement and delinquency trajectories.

Progress towards these goals will be measured by the publication of five peer-reviewed papers, presentations at four national criminology/juvenile justice policy conferences, three OJJDP bulletins and required reports over a period of three years. The data will also be archived in accordance with OJJDP policy. The results of the proposed work will provide JJS policymakers with a research base to match delinquent youth to interventions guided by youth's levels of self-regulation maturation. Such information is a critical step in improving outcomes of females involved in the JJS through interventions that promote self-regulation maturation, accountability, resilience, and desistance.


Date Created: September 17, 2013