Examination of Nonverbal Intelligence and Recidivism Among Juvenile Offenders
Conner, Alaina Samples
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The purpose of this study was to determine the predictive potential of nonverbal intelligence scores on future recidivism. Using aspects of intelligence as predictors of juvenile offending would allow for the identification of predictability profiles, implement preventative efforts, and provide services to remove or decrease significant barriers to resilience in children and adolescents. The Reynolds Intellectual Assessment Scales (RIAS; Reynolds & Kamphaus, 2003), a widely used measure of intelligence, was the primary instrument used in this study. A total of 205 juvenile offenders participated. Several hypotheses were formulated, including attempting to better understand the use of nonverbal intelligence scores as predictors of juvenile offending, predictors of more serious juvenile reoffending compared to verbal intelligence, predictors of the types of charges received, and predictors of the number of charges received. Specific statistical analyses were subsequently conducted. Findings suggest that nonverbal intelligence index scores and nonverbal intelligence subtest scores on the RIAS are not significantly correlated with recidivism among juvenile offenders. Further, nonverbal intelligence was not found to be predictive of several aspects of recidivism. However, when specifically examining nonverbal intelligence as a predictor of the number of charges received both one and two years post-psychological evaluation, nonverbal intelligence subtest scores (What’s Missing) emerged as a significant predictor for a juvenile offender receiving two charges both one and two years after the psychological evaluation. Nonverbal memory scores also revealed a significant negative correlation with recidivism. The lower the scores demonstrated on nonverbal memory domains, the greater the chance that a juvenile would be charged with an offense one year post-psychological evaluation. The results of the analyses completed in the study suggest it is imperative for clinicians and those working with the juvenile offending population to conduct a thorough analysis of specific cognitive functioning, as opposed to a limited examination of verbal and nonverbal cognitive functions. Implications for clinical practice and areas of future research are discussed.