The use of risk factors proposed by developmental pathways of antisocial behaviour in predicting program dropout

Marina Rachitskiy, Ralph Serin, Tendayi Viki

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This archival study investigated the use of risk factors proposed by certain theories of developmental pathways of antisocial behaviour, namely those of Moffitt (1993) and Loeber (1985), in predicting program drop-out at a treatment facility for youths exhibiting serious behavioural difficulties (Robert/Smart Centre). The study evaluated 113 youths admitted to the RSC on their infractions during treatment and seven risk factors proposed by the two developmental theories. Analyses indicated that youth who failed to complete the RSC prescribed intervention programs exhibited a wider variety of infractions during treatment. Both variety of infractions and program drop-out were significantly predicted by the developmental risk factors. Specifically, infractions, early overt behaviour, current covert behaviour, and cognitive/learning difficulties were the best predictors of program drop-out. Mediation analyses revealed a direct relationship only between program drop-out and current covert behaviour. Interestingly, mediation analyses revealed that variety of infractions suppressed the relationship between program drop-out and cognitive/learning difficulties. The implications of these findings for theory and practice are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)511-536
Number of pages25
JournalCanadian Journal of Criminology and Criminal Justice
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2009


  • adolescence
  • antisocial
  • drop-out
  • infraction
  • risk factors
  • developmental pathways

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