L. Van Damme
- Quality of life in relation to future mental health problems and offending
- Testing the good lives model among detained girls
- Law and Human Behavior
- Volume | Issue number
- 40 | 3
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Research Institute of Child Development and Education (RICDE)
Detained girls bear high levels of criminal behavior and mental health problems that are likely to persist into young adulthood. Research with these girls began primarily from a risk management perspective, whereas a strength-based empowering perspective may increase knowledge that could improve rehabilitation. This study examines detained girls’ quality of life (QoL) in relation to future mental health problems and offending, thereby testing the strength-based good lives model of offender rehabilitation (GLM). At baseline, 95 girls (Mage = 16.25) completed the World Health Organization QoL instrument to assess their QoL prior to detention in the domains of physical health, psychological health, social relationships, and environment. Six months after discharge, mental health problems and offending were assessed by self-report measures. Structural equation models were conducted to test GLM’s proposed (in)direct pathways from QoL (via mental health problems) toward offending. Although we could not find support for GLM’s direct negative pathway from QoL to offending, our findings did provide support for GLM’s indirect negative pathway via mental health problems to future offending. In addition, we found a direct positive pathway from detained girls’ satisfaction with their social relationships to offending after discharge. The current findings support the potential relevance of addressing detained girls’ QoL, pursuing the development of new skills, and supporting them to build constructive social contacts. Our findings, however, also show that clinicians should not only focus on strengths but that detecting and modifying mental health problems in this vulnerable group is also warranted.
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