The juvenile delinquency is a very actual and complex issue. There are numerous publications concerning this topic. Nevertheless, in order to analyze features of juvenile crimes carefully, there is the necessity to research it in the context of use of different psychological theories. Therefore, the proposed paper is timely and cognitive. The title of a reviewed article is “Self-determination theory and juvenile delinquency: A validation of a combined theory for understanding youth in conflict with the law”. Authors are Sibley Y. Hawkins and Forrest A. Novy. The paper was published in the Journal of Knowledge and Best Practices in Juvenile Justice and Psychology, 2011, volume 5, issue 1, pages 21-30.
In order to study the problem of juvenile delinquency comprehensively, authors tried to establish following main points. First, it was the attempt to find general causes of youth crimes. It was proposed to associate the motivation to commit a crime with the necessity to fulfill several psychological needs, such as competence, autonomy, and relatedness. Second, the authors tried to persuade that the understanding of adolescents’ needs and attempts to implement it will help to decrease the number of juvenile crimes. Third, with intend to integrate the social learning and a theory of delinquency with the analysis of human behavior based on the common motivations, the expanded theory of delinquency was proposed. Fourth, describing the features of self-determination theory the authors posited that this theory didn’t describe the use to areas of negative functioning. Fifth, previously proposed by other scholars, the social control theory and the general theory of crime were amended, and it was mentioned that teenagers commit a crime when there is no possibility to fulfill properly core psychological needs like relatedness, autonomy, and competence. This statement was proved by the social experiment, which was carried out with the participation of youths in a county detention facility. Sixth, according to the results of the study, it was concluded that the dissatisfaction of basic psychological needs can be the cause of the crime. The scholar mentioned, “By looking instead at delinquency as part of youths' attempt to fulfill important social and psychological needs, we see that delinquency can be the result of an attempt to feel engaged and connected” (Novy & Hawkins, 2011).
After analyzing the above mentioned article, there is the urgent need to emphasize that the proposed points are science-based and the paper mentions actual causes of juvenile crimes. It is completely fair to agree with the statement that there is a connection between the necessity to fulfill several psychological needs and the motivation to commit a crime. If to take into consideration that the proposed view was fully validated by the provided study, it is obvious that needs of teenagers are not always implemented and, because of that, young individuals strive for self-expression through committing crimes. Based on this fact, the authors amended the general theory of crime successfully and provided an appropriate argumentation concerning the importance of autonomy, competence, and relatedness and its effect on the behavior of juveniles. Moreover, views of authors can be proved by the broad analysis of daily teenagers’ life. There are a lot of examples, when person are humiliated by parents, teachers, and peers, thence they cannot find the way to implement their skills and abilities. Consequently, these people don’t understand what place in society they can take and choose the easiest way to fulfill their needs. This choice is mostly connected with offences and crimes. Thus, the scientific research of Sibley Y. Hawkins and Forrest A. Novy is accurate and correctly reflects the reality.
In spite of the positive review, the discussed paper reflects only one cause of juvenile delinquency and slightly exaggerates its significance. Teenagers commit crimes not only because of the disproportion between their needs and the reality. The criminology science elaborated the non-exhaustive list of criminal motivations, thus, there are plenty of cases when diligent pupils/students, or public favorites, surrounded by parental care, commit terrible crimes. In summary, the analyzed scientific paper is science-based, but it should be strongly advised not to magnify the significance of proposed views.