Psychological Issues in Juvenile and Adult Psychopathy

Delinquency and criminal behavior usually denote underlying psychological problems. Psychologists have been able to trace to trace the illegal actions processed by the offenders back to the preschool years. The study classifies offenders into two distinct groups, life-course-persistent offenders (LCPs) or adolescent-limited offenders (ALs). LCPs start exhibiting rebel and antisocial behavior at a very tender age including preschool years. The behavior is linked to some factors including environment, parenting, and biological makeup. LCP behavior often persists into adulthood accelerating to serious crimes. On the other hand, ALs behavior is picked during adolescent years and often dropped as one grows into adulthood. Other psychological disorders such as ADHD also play a part in shaping behavior that may lead to delinquency and adult crime.

Psychological Issues in Juvenile and Adult Psychopathy

Criminal activities include felony and misdemeanor which involve intentional violation of the law and with no regard to defense or excuse. On the other hand, delinquency is the tendency of committing crime especially by younger members of the society. A court has to find proof that such behavior amounts to having committed a crime for it to be referred to as delinquency. In psychology, delinquency is often associated with conduct disorder (CD) and antisocial behavior.

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Development of antisocial behavior can be traced early in childhood life which leads to life-course-persistent offenders (LCPs). Among the contributors to these practices include genetic and biological makeup, experiences, expression of feelings and social skills. Some of the problems exhibited during childhood include temperament, attention deficit disorders, judgment, and problem-solving disorders, and hyperactivity. Contributors to the behavior include neighborhoods, living conditions, and schooling. However, parental support can help in counterchecking the effects of these factors. However, some delinquency action begins in adolescent years. The delinquency behavior is affected by peer and social environment factors, and the offenses tend to be temporary. As this category of offenders approaches early adulthood, they often give up on these criminal behaviors. This class is referred to as adolescent-limited offenders (ALs). The ALs do not have antisocial problems during their childhood. However, during their teenage, the level of crime violence may match that exhibited by LCPs.

ALs tend to commit a crime that gives a sense of autonomy and adult privilege. At times, the crimes committed by ALs are profitable and rewarding. However, when there are more acceptable and enriching alternatives, the ALs are likely to abandon their criminal behavior. Social rejection during childhood has been found to contribute to antisocial behavior during teenage and adulthood. Since ALs have experienced social life and acquired the necessary skills, it is easier for them to switch back to morally upright behavior once they get into adulthood. However, LCPs have deprived the opportunity to learn the social skills and behavior from an early hence the persistence of their behavior into adulthood. The continued existence of the serious crime and emotional problems into adulthood has been found to be uniform for both male and female offenders. For female ALs, the behavior has been found to link to poor economic outcomes once they reach adulthood.

The Role of Behavioral Science Analysis in Helping to Understand These Issues

Behavioral science involves understanding the underlying psychological factors that for instance lead to repeat crime. The primary psychological study can diagnose symptoms even during preschool years.

It has been noted for instance that youngsters often commit a crime in groups such as gangs and crews. The crime pattern is also affected by social, political, and economic factors which consequently denote the offenses committed regarding a particular crime. Besides, it is noted that a small number of offenders is responsible for a huge portion of all the crimes committed. It is also noted that most repeat juvenile offenders can avoid police custody. The juvenile delinquents also rarely specialize in any particular crime and are responsible for a variety of crimes ranging from minor crimes to more violent ones. Delinquency behavior often progresses into more serious crimes as the youngster grows into an adult irrespective of the condition or situation.

Another approach is developmental coercion model which focuses on the environmental upbringing and the parental role in setting the child’s behavior and character. According to the model, the parent, and child behaves in a way that supports the other. For instance, intensity and frequency of aggressive behavior may cause the parent to be lenient involuntarily. This consequently reinforces the child’s behavior. Divorce, poverty, and parental depression are some of the factors that have been found to contribute to coercion behavior. These coupled with a decline in parental control and peer rejection lead to antisocial behavior and delinquency.

Development during adolescence and young is characterized by impulsiveness and reward seeking. Such behavior has different neurological influence including high risk-taking behavior during adolescence.Their actions are also susceptible to peer influence and pressure which increases chances of engaging in risky behaviors. Seeking of variety in highly stimulating experiences makes it possible to take risks with little consideration of the future. This orientation towards immediate risk and benefits does not take many accounts of the long-term effects. Adolescents have also been found to be more responsive and oriented towards their peers. Crimes committed by teenagers are rarely premeditated and are perpetrated in groups.

Disruptive behavior during childhood is associated with poor social and interpersonal skills and hyperactive attention problems. This is closely related to attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) which is linked to cases of delinquency. Impulsivity, excessive motor action, and inattention among children make it hard to regulate behavior. The ADHD symptoms are likely to persist into adulthood. Exposure to lead contamination, for instance, has been found to increase the level of hyperactivity. Neuropsychological deficits have been associated with inhibitory problems and consequently, result in aggressive behavior. Inhibitory problems are related to behavior control. On the other hand, Conduct Behavior (CD) can onset in childhood or adolescence. Where CD sets early in childhood, the action is likely to be carried on through adolescence and into adulthood. On emotional intelligence, chronic offenders have been found to have the probability of a high score. Those with verbal deficit or language development impairment are likely to suffer behavioral problems and consequently exhibit delinquency. Hormones, brain chemistry, temperament, and genetic influence also have a role in delinquency and crime. Psychopathic disorders are likely to influence juvenile delinquency. Similarly, genetics have a major role in criminal behavior as this is tied to the biological roots of personality. Besides, Eysenck outlines parenting behaviors, neighborhood influence, and peer deviance factor as elements that trigger delinquency and criminal behavior.


Delinquency and adult crime often have a long history which may be traced to preschool years, during childhood and into adulthood. This may differ by whether it is LCPs or ALs associated. The major difference is that LCP persists into adulthood while AL can be dropped as one approach young adulthood. Delinquency hence can be analyzed on its background which makes it possible to project and deter crime sufficiently. One important factor noted is the parental role and how it helps in upholding character in the midst of unfavorable conditions. The role of psychological disorders such as ADHD in motivating criminal behavior cannot be ignored. Understanding the psychological issues is critical in handling delinquency and crimes as I may help to understand for instance the cause of repeat crimes. Juvenile and adult psychopathy hence covers a broad spectrum of factors hence the importance of addressing delinquency and crimes.

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