A social-behavioral analysis of skill deficits in delinquent and nondelinquent adolescent boys

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Abstract

Developed a measure consisting of 44 behavioral role-playing and problem-solving items, the Adolescent Problems Inventory (API), along with an item-specific criterion-referenced raters' manual, to identify strengths and weaknesses in the personal and interpersonal skills repertoires of adolescent boys. In an initial validation study, the API responses of institutionalized delinquent boys were rated as less competent than the responses of either of 2 nondelinquent groups of teenage boys (“good citizens” and “leaders”) from a public high school. There were 20 14.1-27.9 yr old Ss in each group. Analyses of the inventory's characteristics showed it to be reliable, to be composed of items with little or no cluster structure, and to have extraordinary discriminant power. Two other validation studies compared the API responses of 15 14-27 yr old institutionalized delinquent boys who had frequent behavioral problems within the institution with 15 institutionalized delinquent boys who had few acting-out problems, and group differences between 40 16-27 yr old delinquents and 40 carefully matched nondelinquents. The type of directions given and test format significantly affected performance. It is suggested that researchers using a social skills conceptualization of personality do more thorough assessment studies of behavior pathologies before embarking on the development of large-scale social skills training programs. (12 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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