Personality variables as predictors of response to residential treatment for delinquent males

Carol Wachs, Pace University


This study investigated the usefulness of the variables level of interpersonal maturity and personality style to predict response to treatment in a residential facility for adjudicated delinquent males. The study examined whether adolescent delinquent males would respond differently to an intervention model which employs a peer-normative culture as the core of its program. Sixty adolescent adjudicated delinquent males ranging in age from 14 to 18 years were administered three questionnaires and the Metropolitan Achievement Test on admission to the program. These consisted of two personality inventories, the Jesness Inventory (Jesness 1969) and the Millon Adolescent Personality Inventory (Millon, Green, and Measher, 1977), and a measure of delinquent behavior, the Jesness Behavior Checklist (Jesness, 1970). Three of these instruments, the achievement tests, the Behavior Checklist, the Millon Personality Inventory were readministered in six months from the original date of testing. T-tests were performed to determine whether there were any differences between subjects who completed six months of the program, and those who did not. Results of this analysis reveal that personality variables were unable to discriminate between these two groups. No other variables were identified which were able to account for which subjects who sustained participation in the program. Pearson product-moment correlations were conducted on staff ratings of the residents' behavior for the final four weeks of the six month period. Results of this analysis indicated that one variable, the Introversive Scale of the Millon Adolescent Personality Inventory, was able to predict positive staff ratings. No other variables were significant for this measure of treatment outcome. Two instruments were employed to measure the subjects' perception of their delinquent behavior, the Behavior Checklist and the Millon Inventory. Regression analyses were performed to determine if the independent variables were able to predict change in delinquent behavior as measured by these instruments. A review of the regression analyses using the personality scales of the Millon and the Jesness as the predictive variables suggests that when subjects at I-Level III and IV are analyzed separately, the overall strength of the results increases markedly. I-Level alone did not prove to be a significant predictive variable for any of the outcome measures. It did enhance the strength personality style as a predictive variable. The Jesness was able to predict behavior change better for the higher level subjects. The residential program appeared to be designed to treat the more conformist-oriented I-Level III subjects better than the more mature subjects. Future research should focus on testing differential treatment outcome in a different type of treatment program, and on long term follow-up studies.

Subject Area

Psychotherapy|Developmental psychology|Personality|Criminology

Recommended Citation

Wachs, Carol, "Personality variables as predictors of response to residential treatment for delinquent males" (1990). ETD Collection for Pace University. AAI9101312.



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