Finding a Middle Ground: Advancing the Feminist Pathways Paradigm Through Intergration with "What Works" with Adolescent Offenders

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Greiner, Leigh Erin




The purpose of this dissertation was to advance the feminist pathways paradigm by integrating theory and methods from a mainstream correctional perspective to enhance our understanding of serious adolescent offenders. This dissertation used archival data provided by the Pathways to Desistance project (Mulvey, 2012), a longitudinal study of 1354 serious adjudicated adolescent offenders (1170 male, 184 female), recruited from Philadelphia and Phoenix, designed to examine persistence and desistance from criminal behaviour over time. Study 1 generated a theoretically-integrated typology and tested the stability of this typology over time using a series of latent profile analyses (LPA) generated at baseline, and at 12, 24, and 36-month follow-ups. Subsequently, using latent difference score (LDS) modeling within a structural equation modelling (SEM) framework, Study 2 examined the relationship between victimization and offending across three time-points, and further examined whether changes in internalizing mental health deficits and substance abuse mediated this relationship. Results of Study 1 suggest that youth can be classified into three groups: a minimal-needs class with negligible needs in all domains, a comprehensive-needs class with high-needs in all domains with the exception of internalizing mental health deficits, and a complex-comprehensive-needs class scoring high on all domains in addition to elevated internalizing mental health disorders. Similar profiles emerged at each time-point examined. However, an additional class, characterized by elevated alcohol use and moderate antisocial personality, emerged at the 36-month follow-up. Overall, results of Study 1 suggest that the heterogeneity of the treatment profiles of adolescent offenders increases over time, and there are more similarities than differences between males and females in their treatment profiles. Results of Study 2 revealed a significant relationship between victimization and subsequent offending; however, neither changes in substance abuse nor changes in internalizing mental health deficits mediated this relationship. As such, these results suggest that this causal sequence of events detailed by feminist pathways proponents may not hold up with longitudinal data. In light of these findings, it is recommended that future research continues to leverage the feminist pathways paradigm with “what works” to gain a better understanding of gender similarities and differences in adolescents’ pathways to crime.






Carleton University

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