Hailley J. Hukill

Psychology & Social Behavior

Hailley Hukill took a class with Professor Cauffman, which increased her interests in adolescents in general and more specifically delinquent adolescents. She joined Professor Cauffman’s lab and had the opportunity to work on this project, one of only a few to examine the link between depression and re-offending in serious juvenile offenders. Hailley particularly enjoyed being able to present her research at a number of conferences, allowing her to share her findings with other interested researchers. Hailley is currently enrolled in the Masters of Social Work program at the University of Southern California.triangle.gif (504 bytes)




Depression has been shown to influence adolescent offenders’ tendency to engage in illegal activity. Prior research also suggests that having negative beliefs about one’s future is associated with reoffending. The present study seeks to examine whether adolescent offenders’ perceptions of future success explain the association between depression and reoffending behavior. The present sample includes serious juvenile offenders from 14–17 years of age. Participants’ depression symptoms following their arrest (baseline), as assessed on the Brief Symptom Inventory, were examined as predictors of self-reported reoffending behavior across seven years following the initial arrest. Youths’ perceptions of future success beliefs at baseline were tested as a potential mechanism of this association. The results suggest that perceptions of future success partially mediate the relation between depression and reoffending behavior. Specifically, the results suggest youth with more depressive symptoms tend to have lowered expectations for future success and these lowered expectations appear to ultimately lead to reoffending behavior. These findings suggest that intervention efforts aimed at improving the mental health of adolescent offenders may not only improve psychological well-being, but may also reduce recidivism among serious offenders who are most at risk for reoffending.triangle.gif (504 bytes)

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Faculty Mentor                                                                                                                

Elizabeth E. Cauffman

School of Social Ecology

This groundbreaking research is the first to recognize the role of one's expectations for future success in helping to stop the depression-delinquency cycle. Hailley's findings suggest that depressed offenders tend to feel they have poor chances of success in the future and are, therefore, more likely than non-depressed offenders to continue to engage in criminal behavior.triangle.gif (504 bytes)

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