Condition comprehension predicts compliance for adolescents under probation supervision

Schwalbe, Craig S.; Koetzle, D.

Noncompliance is a chronic problem among youth court ordered to probation supervision, often placing them in jeopardy of deeper involvement with the juvenile justice system. Legal comprehension theory and goal setting theory suggests that youth understanding of their probation requirements may predict compliance. This study explored the effect of condition comprehension on short-term compliance with probation requirements in a sample of probation youths (n = 101). Results of the multilevel logistic regression analysis demonstrated that youth with a detailed understanding of their conditions were more likely to comply with probation requirements, but that this effect was moderated by age and by emotion regulation. Understanding was not related to compliance for youth younger than 14 and for youth who scored low on a measure of emotion regulation. Results of this study provide support for efforts by probation departments to foster youth comprehension of their conditions, and reveal the need to establish probation strategies suited to younger youth and youth with poor emotion regulation.


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Psychology, Public Policy, and Law

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October 5, 2020