Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 35, Issue 4, pp 517–527 | Cite as

Impulsivity in Juvenile Delinquency: Differences Among Early-Onset, Late-Onset, and Non-Offenders

  • Annemaree CarrollEmail author
  • Francene Hemingway
  • Julie Bower
  • Adrian Ashman
  • Stephen Houghton
  • Kevin Durkin

The present research investigated differences in levels of impulsivity among early-onset, late-onset, and non-offending adolescents. 129 adolescents (114 males, 15 females), of whom 86 were institutionalised (M age=15.52 years) and 43 were regular school students (M age=15.40 years) participated. Each participant completed the Adapted Self-Report Delinquency Scale, Stroop Colour and Word Test, Time Perception task, Accuracy Game, Risk-Taking Game, and the Eysenck Impulsiveness Questionnaire. Results suggest that adolescents who display rapid cognitive tempo, poor mental inhibitory control, and high impulsivity are more likely to be early-onset offenders. Offender and non-offender groups showed significant differences on several measures of impulsivity, which may suggest that late-onset offenders acquire or exacerbate impulse-related problems through social mimicry of early-onset offender peers. Potentially important implications for our understanding of delinquency and the design and provision of prevention programs are highlighted.

Key Words

impulsivity juvenile delinquency early-onset offenders late-onset offenders 



The research reported in this paper was supported by The Australian Research Council Linkage Grant Scheme.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Annemaree Carroll
    • 1
    Email author
  • Francene Hemingway
    • 1
  • Julie Bower
    • 1
  • Adrian Ashman
    • 1
  • Stephen Houghton
    • 1
  • Kevin Durkin
    • 1
  1. 1.The University of QueenslandBrisbaneAustralia

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