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Decreasing Delinquency, Criminal Behavior, and Recidivism by Intervening on Psychological Factors Other Than Cognitive Ability: A Review of the Intervention Literature

In: Controlling Crime: Strategies and Tradeoffs

  • Patrick L. Hill
  • Brent W. Roberts
  • Jeffrey T. Grogger
  • Jonathan Guryan
  • Karen Sixkiller

Research on the causes of delinquency has a long research history, often with an undue focus on how cognitive ability serves as the main predictor of delinquent activity. The current review examines interventions that focus on psychological factors other than cognitive ability, and discusses how several of these programs have demonstrated efficacy in reducing delinquent behavior. Our review uncovers certain themes shared by a number of effective interventions. First, these interventions tend to emphasize rigorous and consistent implementation. Second, effective interventions often incorporate the family environment. Third, several effective interventions have focused on promoting adaptive social skills. In conclusion, our review discusses the possibility that these interventions have proven efficacious in part because they promote adaptive personality trait development.

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This chapter was published in:
  • Philip Cook & Jens Ludwig & Justin McCrary, 2011. "Controlling Crime: Strategies and Tradeoffs," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number cook10-1, October.
  • This item is provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Chapters with number 12084.
    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:12084
    Contact details of provider: Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
    Phone: 617-868-3900
    Web page: http://www.nber.org
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    1. Susanne Schennach & James Heckman & Flavio Cunha, 2007. "Estimating the Technology of Cognitive and Noncognitive Skill Formation," 2007 Meeting Papers 973, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    2. Flavio Cunha & James J. Heckman, 2009. "The Economics and Psychology of Inequality and Human Development," Working Papers 200934, Geary Institute, University College Dublin.
    3. James J. Heckman & Jora Stixrud & Sergio Urzua, 2006. "The Effects of Cognitive and Noncognitive Abilities on Labor Market Outcomes and Social Behavior," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(3), pages 411-482, July.
    4. Borghans, Lex & Duckworth, Angela Lee & Heckman, James J. & Weel, Bas ter, 2008. "The Economics and Psychology of Personality Traits," MERIT Working Papers 010, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
    5. MacKenzie, Doris Layton & Parent, Dale G., 1991. "Shock incarceration and prison crowding in Louisiana," Journal of Criminal Justice, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 225-237.
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