Goal setting and self-efficacy among delinquent, at-risk and not at-risk adolescents

Carroll, Annemaree, Gordon, Kellie, Haynes, Michele and Houghton, Stephen (2013) Goal setting and self-efficacy among delinquent, at-risk and not at-risk adolescents. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 42 3: 431-443. doi:10.1007/s10964-012-9799-y

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Author Carroll, Annemaree
Gordon, Kellie
Haynes, Michele
Houghton, Stephen
Title Goal setting and self-efficacy among delinquent, at-risk and not at-risk adolescents
Journal name Journal of Youth and Adolescence   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0047-2891
Publication date 2013-03-01
Year available 2013
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1007/s10964-012-9799-y
Open Access Status File (Author Post-print)
Volume 42
Issue 3
Start page 431
End page 443
Total pages 13
Place of publication New York, NY, United States
Publisher Springer
Language eng
Abstract Setting clear achievable goals that enhance self-efficacy and reputational status directs the energies of adolescents into socially conforming or non-conforming activities. This present study investigates the characteristics and relationships between goal setting and self-efficacy among a matched sample of 88 delinquent (18 % female), 97 at-risk (20 % female), and 95 not at-risk adolescents (20 % female). Four hypotheses related to this were tested. Findings revealed that delinquent adolescents reported fewest goals, set fewer challenging goals, had a lower commitment to their goals, and reported lower levels of academic and self-regulatory efficacy than those in the at-risk and not at-risk groups. Discriminant function analysis indicated that adolescents who reported high delinquency goals and low educational and interpersonal goals were likely to belong to the delinquent group, while adolescents who reported high educational and interpersonal goals and low delinquency goals were likely to belong to the not at-risk group. The at-risk and not at-risk groups could not be differentiated. A multinomial logistic regression also revealed that adolescents were more likely to belong to the delinquent group if they reported lower self-regulatory efficacy and lower goal commitment. These findings have important implications for the development of prevention and intervention programs, particularly for those on a trajectory to delinquency. Specifically, programs should focus on assisting adolescents to develop clear self-set achievable goals and support them through the process of attaining them, particularly if the trajectory towards delinquency is to be addressed.
Keyword Adolescents
Goal setting
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

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