Resilience and enculturation among adolescents and young adults with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder in the criminal justice system

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Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder
Strength-based research
Enculturation, justice-involved youth

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) is a lifelong disorder with no cure and is accompanied by neurological deficits. There are also secondary disabilities such as behavioural and psychosocial deficits that can often result in trouble with the law and substance problems. Literature has identified an association between delinquency and prenatal alcohol exposure. This study looked at resilience factors for justice-involved youth and addressed questions regarding the association between enculturation and resilience, and whether offence histories differ based on differing resilience factors and moderating factors. Ninety-four justice-involved youth between 12 and 23 years of age participated, 47 diagnosed with FASD and 47 with no diagnosis. The Multigroup Ethnic Identity Measure (MEIM) and Child and Youth Resilience Measure (CYRM) measured enculturation and resilience respectively. Analyses included a correlation matrix, independent-sample t-tests, and ordinary least squares regression analyses. Results showed a positive relationship between the CYRM and the MEIM. Neither group differed in their rates on the CYRM or the MEIM. While the CYRM was not significantly associated with official conviction data it did demonstrate significant associations with self reported offending data. Finally, no significant results emerged to suggest that FASD had an influence on the relationship between the CYRM and offence history or the MEIM and offence history. Findings from this study suggest the importance of incorporating cultural components into services targeted to produce resilience and that different groups may have different service needs.

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Ronald Roesch
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Psychology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.