Heath, R and Priest, HM (2015) Examining experiences of transition, instability and coping for young offenders in the community: A qualitative analysis. Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 21 (2). pp. 224-239. ISSN 1461-7021

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Abstract

This article explores experiences of transition, instability and coping using a qualitative approach with young offenders within a specialist forensic child and adolescent mental health service (CAMHS). Participants were four young people (aged 14–17 years) on community orders under the supervision of local youth offending teams (YOTs). Semi-structured interviews were conducted and data analysed using an inductive thematic analysis approach. Three main themes were identified: (i) people and places; (ii) growth; and (iii) managing difficult experiences. Findings suggest that young offenders are exposed to a wide range of challenging contextual factors including unpredictable or inadequate home environments, numerous transitions (between family members/foster placements and schools), limited engagement with educational settings and a lack of social support, supporting the findings of Paton et al. Findings also portrayed a sense of participants’ ‘psychological growth’ with development along a trajectory from a young child ‘acting out’ in response to the environments in which they were living; through a more reflective stage, in which they were able to begin to consider the situations they found themselves in; before reaching a position in which they were able to look beyond their day-to-day circumstances with some hope that their lives could be different in the future. Furthermore, accounts revealed that these young people had a limited range of functional coping strategies and had largely negative experiences of services. Clinical implications and the need for further research developing professionals’ understanding of the influence of early experiences on young offenders’ behaviour are discussed.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This is the accepted author manuscript (AAM). The final published version (version of record) is available online via Sage at https://doi.org/10.1177/1359104515581715 Please refer to any applicable terms of use of the publisher.
Uncontrolled Keywords: young offenders, life experience, transition, instability, coping qualitative
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: Faculty of Natural Sciences > School of Psychology
Depositing User: Symplectic
Date Deposited: 28 May 2015 08:54
Last Modified: 15 Jun 2018 10:30
URI: http://eprints.keele.ac.uk/id/eprint/550

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