Causes of Conduct Disorder and Juvenile Delinquency

Causes of Conduct Disorder and Juvenile Delinquency

Causes of Conduct Disorder and Juvenile Delinquency

Causes of Conduct Disorder and Juvenile Delinquency

Synopsis

"This volume brings together an international group of leading authorities to advance specific, testable hypotheses about causal factors and mechanisms in conduct disorder and juvenile delinquency. The intent is to invite other researchers to test these causal hypotheses, paving the way not only for theoretical advances but ultimately for progress in prevention and treatment. Providing a summary of cutting-edge thinking across different disciplines and levels of analysis, this book is essential reading for anyone studying or working with young people at risk. Filling a gap in the literature, this book belongs on the desks of researchers and practitioners in clinical, child, and developmental psychology; child and adolescent psychiatry; criminology, and related disciplines. It will serve as a text in advanced undergraduate- or graduate-level courses." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Excerpt

A great deal is known about the correlates of serious conduct problems, but we have made much less progress toward understanding their causes. Because understanding causation will undoubtedly lead to improvements in prevention and treatment, it is essential that future research focus more on causal factors and causal mechanisms (Hinshaw, 2002). In this volume, many of the world's top researchers in developmental psychopathology and developmental criminology have advanced specific and testable hypotheses about the causes of conduct disorder and serious juvenile delinquency. The explicit mission of this volume is to entice other researchers to test these hypotheses to advance knowledge about causation.

We are very pleased that the chapter authors responded to our encouragement to be bold but specific in stating their causal hypotheses. Following philosopher of science Karl Popper (1963), we believe that the job of the scientist is to boldly conjecture, to conjecture in disconfirmable terms, and to expose our conjectures to severe risk of refutation in empirical studies. Hence, we asked the chapter authors (1) to advance explicit, disconfirmable causal hypotheses; and (2) to provide specific descriptions of the crucial studies needed to disconfirm their hypotheses. When appropriate to their topics, we also asked the chapter authors to provide hypotheses regarding the causes of differences in conduct problems as a function of age, gender, race–ethnicity, and socioeconomic status. Because some of these differences are large, it is essential that we eventually understand their causes.

The authors for this volume were selected across disciplines because of their significant accomplishments in research and their well-known respect for data. Some of the chapter authors had previously advanced causal hypotheses, but most had not. This book provides a forum for all of the chapter authors to advance causal hypotheses in the full understanding that they may or may not be supported by future studies. That is, we all agreed to go out on a limb together in inviting other researchers to take our hypotheses . . .

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