Assessing stages of change among adolescent offenders : a new perspective
This dissertation examines motivation to change criminal behaviour among adolescent offenders, with particular emphasis on the applicability of the Prochaska & DiClemente's (1983) Transtheoretical model of behaviour change (TTM) with this population. Three studies comprise this research. In Study 1, 15 adolescent offenders participated in qualitative interviews. The qualitative analyses provide a rich description of the roles that family factors, antisocial attitudes, peer influences, goals, and criminal history have in the development of motivation to change. In Study 2, 150 adolescent offenders completed a newly designed adolescent version of the Stages of Change Scales (SOCS; McConnaughy, Prochaska, & Velicer, 1983) entitled the Adolescent Stages of Change Questionnaire (ASOC). Principal component analysis on the ASOC suggests poor support for the four-factor structure of the TTM. However, a strong Precontemplation Factor does emerge. Finally, 60 adolescent offenders participated in Study 3, which attempted to provide construct validity for both the Precontemplation Factor and a continuous ASOC total score. Overall, results demonstrate strong relationships with motivation to change and measures of antisocial attitudes, but poor relationships with reported delinquency and previous criminal history. Implications for the TTM and the validity of assessing motivation to change with adolescent offenders are discussed.