Research Abstract

Bernal, A., Bridgford, A., Heinrichs, D., & Padilla, C. (2004, April). Characteristics of group home adolescents as they relate to self-reported acts of perpetration. Poster session presented at the meeting of the Thirty-Third Annual Western Psychology Conference for Undergraduate Research, Santa Clara, CA.

The purpose of this study was to understand the characteristics of group home adolescents as they relate to self-reported acts of perpetration. The variables included were social support, incarceration of relatives, gang involvement of the adolescent and their relatives, and personality measures. Social support is defined as an individual’s perception of general support or specific supportive behaviors from people in their social network (Malecki & Demaray, 2002). The personality measures used were the California Psychological Inventory (CPI-So; Gough, 1957), that is related to delinquency and compliance with social norms, and the Ego-Control scale (Block, n.d.). Ego-control measures the degree to which people moderate impulse and admit primary process thought in consciousness. Gang involvement, relative incarceration, and social support were assessed through questions asked in a qualitative interview. The current study examined intercorrelations among the study variables and specifically focused on their relationship to perpetration. Forty-one participants (13 male and 28 female) ranging in age from 12 to 18 lived in one of two group home agencies in Southern California. Informed consent was obtained from the agency, each parent or legal guardian, and the adolescent. Participants were administered the measures in two questionnaire sessions. An additional qualitative interview was conducted and included questions regarding social support, family incarceration, and gang involvement. Positive correlations were expected between perpetration and the following measures: family member incarceration, gang involvement (personal and family), and scores on the Ego-Control and the CPI-So scales. A negative correlation was expected between perpetration and social support. Intercorrelations between the above mentioned measures and scales were further evaluated. The hypotheses were supported with the exception of a negative correlation between perpetration and parents incarceration (r= -.476, p<.01). As expected, positive correlations were found between perpetration and the Ego-Control scale (r= .406, p<.01), perpetration and the CPI-So (r= .522, p<.01), and perpetration and adolescent gang involvement (r=.437, p<.01). Findings indicate delinquency and perpetration are related to current ganginvolvement, ego-control, and socialization. Additionally, a lack of social support was related to perpetration. Future research may explore the negative relationship between perpetration and parents’ incarceration.