Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology (PhD)

Degree Level



Psychological Science


Ana Bridges

Committee Member

Lauren B Quetsch

Second Committee Member

Casey T Harris


deviant peer relationships;juvenile justice system;labeling theory;recidivism;social disadvantage


The present study examines the effects of the juvenile justice system on youth as they transition to early adulthood. The present study adds to the literature by incorporating comparison groups of youths and by testing multiple explanations of recidivism: Labeling Theory and the Life Course perspective. In total, 267 adults were recruited via online survey and sorted into three groups: Externalizing Behavior and Juvenile Justice Involved, Externalizing Behavior and Not Juvenile Justice Involved, and Not Externalizing and Not Juvenile Justice Involved. In addition to demographics, participants completed measures of past externalizing behaviors, past juvenile justice involvement, social disadvantage, deviant peer affiliations in youth and currently, current general mental health and psychopathy, and adult criminal behavior. Labeling did not mediate the relationship between juvenile justice involvement and adult crime. Social disadvantage did not moderate the relationships between juvenile justice involvement and distal psychosocial outcomes. Deviant peer relationships did not mediate the relationship between juvenile justice involvement and adult crime. Youth externalizing behaviors was associated with several distal psychosocial outcomes including deviant peer relationships, psychiatric symptoms, and adult crime. Juvenile justice involvement was significantly negatively related to educational attainment. Implications for future research are discussed.