Future goals and fears of delinquent adolescents

Jolanta Sondaitė, Giedrė Meškauskaitė-Šliužienė


Adolescence is preparation for a complicated and responsible lifetime of a grown-up. At this stage of life juveniles have to choose their professional education and way of life. This thinking about the future crucially influences adolescent’s later adult life, either enhancing or restricting their options (Nurmi, Poole, Seginer, 1995). Having selected his future goals, a juvenile has to adjust them to the public standards, requirements and possibilities. Those who fail are likely to search for alternative possibilities to achieve their goals. This alternative may be delinquent behaviour (Oyserman, Marcus, 1990).
The purpose of this work is to compare future goals and fears of delinquent adolescents and those who attend secondary schools. The subjects were 155 adolescents of the age 16-17 (80 secondary school students and 75 delinquent juveniles (inmates of the colonies)).
The subjects filled in the Hopes and Fears Questionnaire (Nurmi, Poole, Seginer, 1992). They were asked about their goals with the following open-ended question:“ People often think about the future. In the lines below please write down the hopes you have for the future.“ Then, their fears were investigated by asking: „Now we would like you to think about your fears concerning the future and write them down in the lines below.“
The results have showed that juveniles from ordinary secondary school have more often than delinquent peers mentioned future goals related with education, occupation, family, leisure and friends. Delinquent adolescents more often mentioned miscellaneous future goals. They also more often mentioned future goals related to a relationship with parents, and a future goals “to build up life“ than those from ordinary secondary schools.
The results further showed that adolescents from ordinary secondary schools mentioned more often than their delinquent peers fears related to education, occupation, family and health of parents. Delinquent adolescents mentioned more often miscellaneous fears (such as related to dismissal) and fears related to their own health.
The results showed a linkage between the same category future goals and fears in ordinary secondary school group and in a delinquent group.


delinquent adolescents; future goals and fears

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"Social Work" ISSN online 2029-2775 / ISSN print 1648-4789