PSY 214 – Adolescent Psychology
Chapter 13 Notes – part 2
There is so
much material in chapter 13 that this is the second of the 2 parts of
the notes for it.
Delinquency is the next issue to consider.
There are a couple of noteworthy
things in the text.
One is that almost 80% of adolescents report having
committed at least one criminal act before they are 20 years old.
within that group, more than 80% have committed only relatively minor offenses
such as t.p.ing someone’s house or stealing something trivial – and they never
progress to more serious crimes.
This is what the book refers to as
“adolescence-limited delinquency” and it may be an outgrowth of rebellion or
thrill-seeking that kids eventually grow out of.
While their behavior is
unacceptable and should be followed by appropriate consequences, it probably
does not indicate any serious underlying pathology – in contrast to young people
who begin having problems very early in their lives and commit more serious and
more frequent crimes as adolescents.
These kids do need some professional
In Missouri, the juvenile justice system underwent considerable changes in 1994
that made it much easier to certify young offenders as adults within the legal
Currently, a child of any
age who commits one of seven crimes must
undergo a certification hearing at which a judge decides whether the child will be
prosecuted in the juvenile system or the adult system.
The seven crimes are first
and second degree murder, first degree assault, forcible rape, forcible sodomy,
first degree robbery and distribution of drugs.
If a juvenile is certified as an adult
and is found guilty of one of these crimes, he/she could serve time in a juvenile
detention facility until the age of 21, then be transferred to an adult prison to
serve out the rest of his/her sentence.
In most jurisdictions, however, a very
small number of juvenile offenders are actually certified as adults so most remain
in the juvenile system with various detention and treatment options.
In contrast to the externalizing problems discussed so far, internalizing problems
center around depression and anxiety.
You probably know that depression is the
most frequently diagnosed mental disorder, at least in the U.S., and that it rarely
occurs before adolescence, although it certainly can.
Again, it’s important to
examine the frequency and intensity of depression in order to figure out how best
to respond to it.
The lowest level, intensity-wise, of depression is “depressed
mood” – i.e. just feeling sad – and it reaches its peak rates of occurrence
between the ages of about 15 and 17.
This kind of depression merits concern on
the part of adults, but it probably does not need clinical or medical intervention,
unless it becomes very frequent.
The other 2 types of depression are far more
serious and far less common, and they do require professional intervention.