The age-graded effects of psychosocial maturity on legal socialization across the adolescent developmental course in youth offenders

Colleen M. Berryessa, Thomas W. Wojciechowski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This study, using a sample of youth offenders from the Pathways to Desistance Study (N = 1354), examines Greenberger and Sorensen’s model of “psychosocial maturity” as a predictor of legal socialization (legal cynicism and legitimacy) across the adolescent developmental course, as well as the differential importance of this relationship by age. Psychosocial maturity significantly predicted lower levels of legal cynicism, but also lower levels of legitimacy, from ages 14–25. Yet, when considering the salience of these relationships by age, results suggest that the relationship between psychosocial maturity and legitimacy may show little variation as adolescent offenders age, but that the salience of psychosocial maturity on explaining patterns of legal cynicism declines with age during development into emerging adulthood. This work’s potential implications for promising interventions that foster psychosocial maturity in early adolescence to reduce legal cynicism of youth who have offended or are at high-risk of offending are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalApplied Developmental Science
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Applied Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies

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