Motivations for adolescent offending and truancy from school: retrospective interviews with adults recently released from a custodial prison sentence in England

Stephen Filkin, Dara Mojtahedi, Dominic Willmott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This qualitative study considers the development of adolescent offending and examines a range of potential causes rooted in the issues of truancy, peer pressure, and educational and parental disengagement. Ten adult offenders recently released from prison were accessed through a probation service in the North West of England. Participants (M age = 35.2, S.D = 8.51) were interviewed about the indictable offences that they perpetrated between the ages of 12–16. Thematic analysis uncovered several key themes related to substance misuse and broader enjoyment of risk-taking behaviours, financial gain and the desire to develop a recognised criminal status, alongside fear and rejection of authority. In general, educational disengagement led to stronger associations with anti-social peers from whom acceptance was sought and offending identities were constructed around. Longer-term consequences of time spent with anti-social peers included substance abuse, more serious criminality, and increased risk-taking behaviour. The implications of the findings are discussed in the context of early interventions.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere09762
Number of pages9
JournalHeliyon
Volume8
Issue number6
Early online date22 Jun 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jun 2022

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