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Date of Award

2004

Document Type

Dissertation - Pacific Access Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

Department

Counseling Psychology

First Advisor

Linda Webster

First Committee Member

Rachelle Hackett

Second Committee Member

Dennis Brennan

Third Committee Member

Purna Datta

Abstract

In the course of a forensic evaluation, psychologists often rely on personality inventories to provide information that is useful in making recommendations regarding case disposition (parole, treatment, etc.). The purpose of this study was to evaluate the ability of four scales from the Personality Assessment Inventory (PAI) to distinguish between youthful criminal offenders and non-offenders. The scales focused on in this study were Paranoia (PAR), Traumatic Stress (ARD-T), Alcohol Problems (ALC) and Drug Problems (DRG). Twenty-five youthful offenders incarcerated in the California Youth Authority comprised the offender group and 25 students at a California Community College comprised the non-offender group. The subjects were matched for age (male) and gender. The offender group was administered the Personality Assessment Inventory on an individual basis while incarcerated at the California Youth Authority. Permission was obtained to use selected protocols as archival data for this investigation. The non-offender group was administered the Personality Assessment Inventory in a group setting while attending a mathematics class at a community college. Independent samples t-tests demonstrated that the Drug Problems scale was the only one of the four scales which indicated a significant difference between the two groups (p < 0.05). Discriminant analysis yielded a significant discriminant function accounting for 22.5% of the variability in the scores. The primary contributors to that function were Drug Problems and Alcohol Problems. The finding that the Alcohol Problems and Drug Problems scales did not both significantly distinguish the offender and non-offender group is discussed in light of other personality inventories' use of a single scale to evaluate alcohol and other drugs. Further implications for theory and practice and suggestions for further research are discussed.

Pages

119

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