Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Family Cohesion and Desistance Status in Adult-onset Offenders: Examining Relationships and the Moderating Effects of Gender
by Stanley, V. Jean, Ph.D., Northcentral University, 2014, 128; 3680638
Abstract (Summary)

Offender rehabilitation professionals often rely on evidence-based interventions to promote the reduction of criminal behavior (or desistance). Studies show that improving family cohesion, and accounting for gender differences in programming effectively helps to reduce criminality in juveniles. Yet, comparatively, little is known about the relationship between family cohesion and desistance in adult-onset offenders, or how gender might influence that relationship. The first research question examined whether there is a significant relationship between family cohesion, the predictor variable, and desistance status, the outcome variable, in adult-onset offenders. The second question explored in which way if any gender moderates that relationship. The study involved a comparison of two offender groups, each taken from a population of 298 adult probationers in East Texas, and categorized as either desisters or nondesisters. Classification depended on their current age, number of arrests, and age at first arrest. Other parameters were gender and most recent arrest date. Inclusion screening yielded groups of 39 desisters and 38 nondesisters. Participants voluntarily completed an intake sheet and an eight-question survey taken from the Emotional Cohesion subscale of the Family Climate Scales. It was expected that a significant relationship between family cohesion and desistance status would be found, which findings supported. Thus, the null hypothesis for question one was rejected. It was also expected that gender would be identified as a moderator of that relationship, which the research did not support. Thus, the null for question two failed to be rejected. A limitation of this study was the small sample size, which created less than adequate power to detect significance relative to the interaction term of family cohesion and gender. Replication of the study should involve a sample size of at least 210 (N = 210), to achieve adequate power and a more reliable effect size. Although the body of desistance literature is ever growing, many questions about desistance patterns in adult-onset offenders remain unanswered. These uncertainties accentuate the need for further exploration into factors that influence their desistance patterns. Future research is needed to explore in more detail other family factors that relate to desistance in adult-onset offenders.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Carpenter, Andrew
School: Northcentral University
Department: School of Psychology
School Location: United States -- Arizona
Source: DAI-B 76/06(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Behavioral psychology, Clinical psychology, Criminology
Keywords: Adult-onset, Desistance, Family cohesion, Family warmth, Offenders
Publication Number: 3680638
ISBN: 9781321528664
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