Decreasing Delinquency, Criminal Behavior, and Recidivism by Intervening on Psychological Factors Other than Cognitive Ability: A Review of the Intervention Literature
NBER Working Paper No. 16698
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.