Semester of Graduation

Spring

Degree

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Psychology

Document Type

Thesis

Abstract

Future Orientation and callous-unemotional (CU) traits are well established predictors of future offending. A more positive outlook on one’s future goals seems to protect youth from engaging in antisocial behavior, whereas elevated CU traits predict more severe and persistent forms of delinquency. The relationship between CU traits and other aspects of psychopathy, such as grandiose self-worth, is not consistent with a pessimistic outlook towards the future. This study explored the associations among these variables in a sample of male first-time juvenile offenders (N = 1,216). Results indicated that future orientation predicted delinquency over a 5-year follow-up period, and this was true for both self-reported delinquency and official arrests. Further, this association was not moderated by the adolescent’s level of CU traits. Additionally, individuals with CU traits tended to have a pessimistic outlook towards the future, and this was irrespective of whether this was measured as expectations and aspirations for success in prosocial outcomes (e.g., success with family, jobs, and staying out of trouble with the law) or whether it was measures as more general optimism, and self-esteem. These findings support the importance of an adolescent’s future orientation for the predicting later delinquency and this is irrespective of the youth’s level of CU traits.

Committee Chair

Frick, Paul

Available for download on Friday, March 13, 2020

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