This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

The Relationship between Delinquency and Creative Writing for Detained Adolescent Males




Simmons, Lisa

Type of Degree

PhD Dissertation


Education Foundation, Leadership, and Technology


This study examined the use of a brief writing intervention, Writing Our Stories (WOS), as it relates to delinquency, impulsivity, and IQ in a sample of detained adolescent males. The oppositional and unruly subscales of the Millon Adolescent Clinical Inventory measured the construct of delinquency, and the Wechsler Abbreviated Scale of Intelligence measured IQ. Both measures were administered as part of a standard intake protocol at a juvenile detention facility in the Southeast. The study consisted of 461 participants, 230 who did not participate in WOS and 231 who did. There were 173 participants in grades eight and nine and 100 in grades ten, eleven, or twelve. Most of the participants identified as white (60.5%), and more than half were aged 16 or older (55.1%). More than half were on their first and only juvenile justice commitment (53.3%), and most students were detained on a sexual charge: sexual abuse, sodomy, or sexual misconduct (59.9%). The average WASI score for participants and nonparticipants was 77.87. There was a strong relationship between IQ and delinquency (r=.605, p <0.01). As IQ increased, the sum of the unruly subscale and the oppositional subscale also tended to increase. However, results of a two-way MANOVA between the unruly subscale and the oppositional subscale suggested that there were no main effects and no interaction effects across the sample. The results of four paired-samples t-tests suggested that delinquency as measured by the oppositional subscale, but not the unruly subscale, decreased statistically significantly from pre- to post-treatment for participants in WOS. Scores on the unruly and oppositional subscales of the MACI did not demonstrate statistically significant decreases from pre- to post-detainment for the control group.