Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Semester of Degree Completion


Thesis Director

Randall H. Best


A major problem encountered in the juvenile courts concerns the large number of young offenders placed on probation, as well as the seriousness of their violations. Representative studies by Jenkins and Glickman (1947), Hathaway and Monachesi (1953), and Shinohara and Jenkins (1967) have pointed out the complexities of delinquent behavior by indicating that most legal authorities are often unable to determine who will repeat illegal acts.

This problem necessitates some objective approach toward identifying potential repeaters and non-repeaters. Such a technique would be useful in studying the early stages of delinquent behavior and provide a means of studying the growing crime rate of adult criminals.

Delinquents have been found to fall within certain personality classifications, as implied in the Hewitt and Jenkins (1946), and Shinohara and Jenkins (1967) research. Various delinquent behavior patterns have been incorporated in the contents of the Social History Questionnaire (SHQ), a paper and pencil intake inventory developed by Best and Erikson (1973). This actuarial technique is devised to measure such personality traits as behavioral disturbances, parent-child relations, and psychosomatic disorders.

The present study was designed to construct a Recidivist-Non-recidivist scale, using those items of the SHQ that best differentiated the recidivists and non-recidivists.

Ss were 40 probation youths who had completed the SHQ. Ss were divided into two groups, Recidivists and Non-recidivists, according to number of offenses indicated by their court record. The two groups were then compared in terms of their responses to the SHQ. A X2 item analysis was used. Of 393 SHQ items, 18 were found to differentiate between the two groups (p<.05). One item was significant at the .01 level. These 18 items were then combined into a subscale, and norms for the entire sample were established. Various limitations, as well as implications for future research were discussed.