Is teen court the best fit? Assessing the predictive validity of the Teen Court Peer Influence Scale
Purpose Despite the increased use of teen courts for first time, non-violent juvenile offenders, there has been little research examining the decision-making processes regarding which offenders are best suited for this type of intervention. The Teen Court Peer Influence Scale (TCPIS) was developed to assist juvenile justice officials in making these determinations. The purpose of the present research is to determine the predictive validity of the TCPIS.Methods The TCPIS was administered to a nonprobability sample of teen court participants in Florida (N = 404) between September 2006 and February 2007. Dependent measures for the validity analysis were developed from the Youth Self-administered Questionnaire and included social bonds, prosocial attitudes, delinquent peer associations, positive perceptions of teen court, and perceived delinquency.Results All hypotheses were supported with the TCPIS global score accounting for a significant amount of variance among each of the delinquency measures strengthening the predictive validity of the measure.Conclusions These preliminary findings are positive regarding the predictive validity of the TCPIS. With additional research, the TCPIS could be a useful tool for decision-makers regarding which juvenile offenders are the best fit for teen court diversion programs.
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