Predicting recidivism and crime severity in a male juvenile delinquent population using the MMPI-A
Cohen, Paul Jason
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The purpose of this study was to investigate the predictive capabilities of the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Instrument – Adolescent version (Butcher, Williams, Graham, Archer, Tellegen, Ben-Porath, and Kaemmer, 1992) in determining whether adolescents will go on to commit serious crimes once they have already been introduced to the juvenile justice setting. In addition, the particular individual characteristics of the serious versus non-offender/minor offender personality were under investigation. After stringent screening procedures, 99 of the original 181 male delinquents waiting disposition in juvenile court remained to participate in the study. Each participant was ordered to undergo a psychological evaluation to determine appropriate treatment and/or further placement. As a part of these evaluations, each participant took the MMPI-A. Juvenile offense histories and number and types of offenses were gathered before administration of the MMPI-A and number of days in detention and offense information was tracked for eighteen months post-test administration date via the Juvenile Tracking System. Overall, the MMPI-A proved to be most successful in predicting adolescents who do not go on to seriously reoffend and it showed limited success in predicting adolescents who seriously reoffend after a period of eighteen months. One subscale on the entire MMPI-A proved to be clinically significantly different between the two groups (Sc6). However, clinically relevant differences were found in sixteen other scales and subscales. Descriptions of the differences in the two groups are discussed, in addition to implications of these findings, and future research suggestions.