Date of Conferral







Sharon Xuereb


In the United States, there is a high incidence of recidivism among juvenile offenders with mental health disorders. This is a critical social issue facing the public and the Department of Juvenile Justice Administration today. However, research is not clear on the role of psychological factors in recidivism frequency and survival time. The purpose of this study was to examine whether hopelessness depression, as measured by suicidal-ideation, depression-anxiety, anger-irritation, and alcohol-drug use, and offense type, were predictors of recidivism frequency and survival time when controlling for age, gender, and race. The total sample consisted of archival data from 404 juvenile offenders between the ages 13 and 19, who were detainees in the Juvenile Detention facility between January 1, 2009, and December 31, 2012. Data consisted of scores from the Massachusetts Youth Screening Instrument, which is part of the standard intake screening at time of booking. A hierarchical regression analysis indicated a collective significant predictive relationship between age, gender, race, suicidal-ideation, depression-anxiety, anger-irritation, alcohol-drug-use, and recidivism frequency and survival time. Posthoc analyses of variance indicated statistically significant differences in alcohol-drug-use and anger-irritation levels between races. However, the multiple linear regression indicated that suicidal-ideation and depression-anxiety did not significantly predict either recidivism frequency or survival time. Results could enable juvenile justice staff to detect hopelessness depression among juvenile reoffenders at an earlier stage and offer better treatment aimed at reducing future occurrences of youth recidivism, thereby benefitting individuals as well as society.