Juvenile Delinquent’s Decision Making Capacity in Risk Situations: A Multifactorial Approach
Most research approaches the genesis of risk prone behaviour in juvenile delinquents from a single point of view, psychological or sociological. In our research, we have attempted to eliminate this unilateralism. To this end, we have tested an integrative model composed of the psychological and sociological factors of juvenile delinquency. The empirical research was performed on a sample of 420 randomly selected juvenile delinquents and a control group of 420 individuals selected by stratified random sampling. The research methodology consisted of analysing documents (family situation, age, etc.) and applying psychological tests (Nowicki & Strickland's Internal-External Control Scale for Children, McGuire & Priestley's Testing Your Reaction, Zuckerman-Kuhlman's Personality Questionnaire and A.W. Tucker's Inmate Dilemma Test). Data confirmed that young delinquents are more impulsive and have a higher sensation seeking tendency, but their decision-making capacity in risk situations is not significantly different compared to the control group. Looking at the data of the psychological tests and the descriptors of the social situation of juvenile delinquents, it looks like personality factors are associated with social factors (family shortcomings, low level of schooling, substance abuse, entourage, friends) as important determinants of delinquency.