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Defining psychosocial maturity: a risk factor for offending and aggression in adolescents and young adults

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(Thesis) M.A.
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Throughout adolescence and into their early 20s, youth are expected to develop sufficient maturity to navigate the adult world. However, the social and emotional aspects of maturity are not well understood, particularly the consequences of inadequate development. Research suggests a relationship between psychosocial immaturity and offending. This three month longitudinal study tested a model of psychosocial maturity (PM) to determine whether there were age differences consistent with a process of maturation, whether the factors in the model comprised a unitary construct, and whether the model prospectively predicted offending and aggression. PM and offending data were collected from 276 high school and university students over a three to four month period. The study partly confirmed theoretical assumptions about PM and found that PM prospectively and concurrently predicted offending and aggression. These findings further emphasize the need for research on psychosocial maturity and its relationship with offending and other outcomes.
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