skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 227826 Find in a Library
Title: Rational Choice, Agency and Thoughtfully Reflective Decision Making: The Short and Long-Term Consequences of Making Good Choices
Journal: Journal of Quantitative Criminology  Volume:25  Issue:2  Dated:June 2009  Pages:103-127
Author(s): Ray Paternoster; Greg Pogarsky
Date Published: June 2009
Page Count: 25
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article; Unknown
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study explored thoughtfully reflective decision making (TRDM), human agency, and rational choice.
Abstract: Findings show that an important part of what it means to act rationally and with human agency is the process of TRDM. Individuals act as agents when they intentionally pursue goals and deliberately commit themselves to a course of action designed to reach those goals. Identified are four key components of TRDM: collecting information pertaining to a problem that requires a decision, thinking of alternative solutions to the problem, systematically deliberating over how to determine the best alternative, and retrospectively analyzing how good a problem solver was in the situation. TRDM is thought to be a characteristic of individuals that varies both across persons, within persons over time, and across different decision making contexts. In terms of life outcomes, the study found general support that TRDM is positively related to successful life outcomes. Adolescents who were more thoughtfully reflective in their decision making were more likely to have favorable life outcomes both in the short-term (6-18 months later) and more long-term (5-7 years later) than those less thoughtful. In the short term, those who were thoughtfully reflective were less likely to be involved in delinquency, heavy drinking, and drug use and more likely to expect to graduate from college. In the long term, those who were more thoughtful in their decision making were less likely to be involved in criminal offending and drug use and more likely to be involved in community and civic groups. Data were collected from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, a multi-wave, panel study of adolescents in grades 7 through 12. Tables, appendix, and references
Main Term(s): Decisionmaking; Individual behavior
Index Term(s): Adolescent attitudes; Adolescent females; Adolescent males; Adolescents at risk; Behavior patterns; Behavioral and Social Sciences; Behavioral science research; Career development; Educational levels; Juvenile Delinquent behavior; Problem behavior; Risk taking behavior; Self Advancement Through Education; Youth development
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.