Toward an empirical conceptualisation of resilience in young adult offenders
As the risk assessment field develops, a growing trend to consider protective factors as well as risk factors of individuals involved with the justice system has emerged. Resilience is one purported protective factor that has been highlighted as being of potential importance. However, conceptualisation of the construct of resilience has been unclear, and little related research has been undertaken with offender populations. This study sought to address these shortcomings by examining a range of factors thought to comprise resilience and determining whether these factors were associated with resilience in a sample of young adult and youth offenders. Initial analyses showed that an absence of a likely mental health diagnosis was the only factor significantly correlated with resilience, with alcohol and/or drug problems and psychopathy approaching statistical significance. Subsequent multivariate analysis found absence of a likely mental health diagnosis to be the only significant contributing factor to resilience, explaining only a small (approximately 6%) amount of total variance, as measured by the Resilience Scale. The results suggest refinement of the resilience construct is necessary, and that risk assessment measures incorporating assessments of resilience may need to reconceptualise and redefine resilience.