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Psychosocial Maturity and Desistance From Crime in a Sample of Serious Juvenile Offenders

"Understanding why most juvenile offenders desist from antisocial activity as a part of the normative transition into adulthood may provide important insights into the design of interventions aimed at encouraging desistance ... This study explores the processes through which juvenile offenders desist from crime and delinquency" (p. 2). Sections of this bulletin include: theories of psychosocial maturation process; models of psychosocial maturity; measuring the components of psychosocial maturity--temperance, perspective, and responsibility; measuring antisocial behavior; identifying trajectories of antisocial behavior; patterns of change in psychosocial maturity over time; psychosocial maturation and patterns of offending; and summary. This bulletin "provides evidence that, just as immaturity is an important contributor to the emergence of much adolescent misbehavior, maturity is an important contributor to its cessation. This observation provides an important complement to models of desistance from crime that emphasize individuals’ entrance into adult roles and the fact that the demands of these roles are incompatible with a criminal lifestyle ... Perhaps the most important lesson learned from these analyses is that the vast majority of juvenile offenders grow out of antisocial activity as they make the transition to adulthood; most juvenile offending is, in fact, limited to adolescence (i.e., these offenders do not persist into adulthood) (p. 9).