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The Psychology Behind Causes in Juvenile Criminal Behavior – Essay Sample

The Psychology Behind Causes in Juvenile Criminal Behavior – Essay Sample

Delinquency and criminal activity in minors is a serious issue that affects the entire United States. Though various programs, punishments and other regulations are in place to try and prevent juvenile delinquency, it is still a prominent issue in society. Understanding the psychological reasoning behind juvenile criminal activity can help parents, law enforcement figures and even juveniles prevent criminal activity.

There are various aspects that contribute to juvenile criminal behavior. Most of them are a result of outside factors, which cause emotional instability in adolescents. However, other factors can be internal. The main contributing psychological causes to juvenile criminal behavior include:

  • The desire to belong. Many adolescents will commit criminal acts because they seek to be accepted by friends. Juveniles will produce delinquent behavior because they want attention from peers or seek approval from others their own age. Criminal acts are often considered ‘cool’ and this concept is buried deep in adolescent psyches.
  • Anger or depression. Adolescents that come from broken homes or abusive families are at a higher risk for committing criminal acts. Juveniles will rebel against neglectful or hurtful parents, or commit wrongful acts to earn attention from parents, who otherwise offer a complete lack of parental supervision.
  • The normalization of criminal practices. Children that witness criminal behaviors on a regular basis are likely to incorporate those behaviors as normal. For example, adolescents that experience sexual abuse or criminal activity at a young age are more likely to repeat those behaviors later in life.
  • The desire for attention. Adolescents that are considered outcasts in school, or are continually neglected and ignored by parents are more likely to exhibit harmful criminal behaviors than those from healthy, supportive backgrounds.
  • Personality dysfunction. Sometimes juvenile delinquency is a direct result of psychological or mental disorders. For example, adolescents with schizophrenia, anxiety disorders and even ADHD can all sway adolescents towards more risk-taking and criminal behaviors. Drug and alcohol dependency is also a contributing factor to many delinquent behaviors.

It is widely believed that most criminal activity undergone by juveniles is a result of poor socialization and parenting practices. While this is true in many cases, even juveniles from healthy backgrounds exhibit the psychological indicators for juvenile delinquency listed above. If, for any reason, adolescents are a) swayed to the belief that criminal acts will earn them acceptance or attention, b) suffering from a mental disorder or past trauma, or c) behaviorally accepting of criminal practices, then they are suffering from one of many psychological causes of juvenile criminal behavior.

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