A COMPARISON OF THE PERCEPTIONS OF FAMILY VARIABLES IN THREE MMPI CODED SUBTYPES OF JUVENILE DELINQUENTS UTILIZING THE MOOS' FAMILY ENVIRONMENT SYSTEM AND OLSON'S CIRCUMPLEX MODEL

ALICE DOSTAL HIGGINS, Fordham University

Abstract

Although researchers have noted global patterns of inadequate affection and lax discipline in the families of juvenile delinquents, the collection of more specific data has been hampered by two inherent difficulties in such research: (1) Although delinquency is a legal term, it has been used as a psychological term and may actually subsume a variety of psychological subtypes and (2) There has been considerable inconsistency and a paucity of reliable methods for evaluating families.^ The objective of this study was to examine some of the family correlates of juvenile delinquency by utilizing current innovations in psychological literature--the classifications of delinquents by MMPI code types and the systematization of family interaction variables through the Moos and Circumplex Models. The focus was on the differential perceptions of three MMPI code types of delinquents, of variables suggested as crucial in family interaction: cohesion, control, organization, adaptability, conflict, independence and moral-religious emphasis.^ On the basis of literature, it was hypothesized that 4-9 delinquents would perceive the least cohesion in their families, the most chaos, the greatest opportunity for independence and the strongest need to create a good impression. It was expected that the more disturbed 8(1,2,7) delinquents would experience more cohesion, rigidity, and conflicted family systems where there was a high moral religious emphasis but little opportunity for independence when compared to the other two subgroups.^ Thirty boys were tested in each of the three code types, 4-9 or psychopathic delinquents, 4-8 or confused extrapunitive delinquents and 8(1,2,7) or confused intorpunitive delinquents. Test measures included both the 90 item Moos Family Environment Scale (FES), a true-false self-report inventory, and the Family Adaptability and Cohesion Evaluation Scales (FACES), a 111 item self-report inventory designed to evaluate families in the context of the Circumplex Model.^ An Analysis of Variance design was utilized to compare the family variables across the three code types and Chi Square analysis was performed on the frequencies with which delinquent perceptions fell in Circumplex categories. The results failed, however, to support the hypotheses. The only significant differences occurred on family structure variables but not in the anticipated direction. 4-9 perceived their families as highest in control, and as tending to fall in the more structured and rigid categories of family adaptability. (Abstract shortened with permission of author.) ^

Subject Area

Clinical psychology

Recommended Citation

HIGGINS, ALICE DOSTAL, "A COMPARISON OF THE PERCEPTIONS OF FAMILY VARIABLES IN THREE MMPI CODED SUBTYPES OF JUVENILE DELINQUENTS UTILIZING THE MOOS' FAMILY ENVIRONMENT SYSTEM AND OLSON'S CIRCUMPLEX MODEL" (1984). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI8506332.
https://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI8506332

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