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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 77228 Find in a Library
Title: Neuropsychological Differences Between Juvenile Delinquents and Functional Adolescents - A Preliminary Study
Journal: Adolescence  Volume:16  Issue:61  Dated:(Spring 1981)  Pages:57-66
Author(s): J Voorhees
Date Published: 1981
Page Count: 10
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study examines the neuropsychological differences between 28 juvenile delinquents in the Contra Costa Juvenile facility in Martinez, Calif., and 15 functional high school adolescents. Verbal, optic, motor, acoustic, kinesthetic, and mnestic abilities were tested.
Abstract: Two neuropsychological assessment instruments were used: the Bender-Gestalt visual motor (BG) test, and Lurias' Neuropsychological Investigation (LNI). Upon completion of the BG, there was a 5-minute rest interval, followed by the LNI. Of the 11 general categories examined, only 2, cutaneous and kinesthetic functions, did not statistically discriminate between the groups. The delinquent group performed consistently lower in each of the remaining tasks. Those tasks requiring sustained levels of concentration and attention (visual, mnestic, autoverbal, arithmetic, speech) provided the greatest difficulty for the delinquent group. Each of these indices was disproportionately represented by items presenting complex verbal relationships as opposed to impulse, reaction-oriented tasks. For example, on motor function tasks, the delinquents displayed a generally lower level of tolerance for the more difficult and ambiguous situations. They performed numerous echopraxic (mirror image) responses with reduced awareness or correction of incorrect responses. Fine motor coordination also was generally lowered within this group. This was present particularly in those tasks requiring complex planning and programming. On the other hand, the juvenile group displayed equivalent or slightly greater performance abilities on the various cutaneous and kinesthetic functions as well as some specified motor skills. On intellectual processes tasks, delinquents displayed literal and concrete thought patterns in analyzing simple stories, proverbs, and expressions. These findings suggest that the juveniles' performance levels were less affected when sustained attention, symbolic manipulations, and complex abstract abilities were not involved. Future research should attempt to determine whether this information could be used to develop ways of working therapeutically with the juvenile delinquent and whether the resultant discrepancies are neuropsychological in nature, socially determined, or the result of extensive drug use. Tabular data and 14 references are provided. (Author abstract modified)
Index Term(s): Biological influences; Comparative analysis; Male juvenile delinquents; Neurological disorders; Nonbehavioral correlates of crime; Psychological evaluation; Testing and measurement
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