Cognitive transformation perspectives describe identity as an important aspect of an individual’s decision to involve themselves in criminal behavior. Pro-sociality is inconsistent with a criminal lifestyle, whereas negative and antisocial perceptions of oneself increases the likelihood of (a) overall offending trajectories and (b) involvement in desistance and/or recidivism behaviours. Due, in part, to a lack of validated measures of identity, it remains relatively unclear how different perspectives of self-identity impact continued involvement in offending. Drawing from a sample of incarcerated serious and violent young offenders (n = 211), the current study explores the relationship between self-identity profiles in adolescence (per Schneider’s Good Citizen’s Scale) and continued involvement in offending during emerging adulthood. The results are discussed within the context of the importance of identity for theories of desistance and with specific reference to identity as a key risk factor for criminal justice system practitioners to consider in developing intervention and treatment strategies for adjudicated youth.
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Thesis advisor: MacAlister, David
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