Hoping For a Better Life: A Mental Health Process Voiced by Youthful Offenders

by Bonham, Carol Elizabeth.

Abstract (Summary)
This grounded theory study examined the psychosocial processes that contributed to juvenile detention as perceived by the adolescent. Twelve youth (seven males, five females) between 13 and 16 years of age were interviewed at a local detention center. A basic social psychological process, Hoping for a better life, was identified from the interviews. Three stages of this process were explicated as youth recounted a significant loss early in life, reacting externally with delinquent actions, and discovering choices for new behaviors. In Stage One, Enduring the loss was characterized by loss; youth described losing a significant adult, usually a biological parent. Detaching was the basic social structural process (BSSP) used by youth to live with, or to endure, the loss. The themes of detaching were losing a significant adult, resenting the loss, unrelenting grief, unremitting loneliness, and experiencing vulnerability. In Stage Two, Persisting the dissension conceptualized the structural process of repudiating. The BSSP of repudiating provided a transition from the first stage and consisted of three themes. The themes, contingent on how dissension was externalized, included demonstrating internal discord, choosing to remain, and breaking the rules. In this stage, youth repudiated or rejected the rules and norms of socializing agents. Stage Three, Discovering a path, was articulated by youth after being detained in the detention center where opportunity existed for learning self control and self regulation. The BSSP of connecting emerged from the data. Connecting included the four themes of balancing, differentiating, futuring and experiencing equilibrium. Meaningful study findings included discovery of the impact of early significant loss of a parent and sustained substance use. 14
Bibliographical Information:


School:The University of Arizona

School Location:USA - Arizona

Source Type:Master's Thesis



Date of Publication:

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