An Exploratory Study on the Role of Criminogenic Risk Factors and Informant-rated Everyday Executive Functioning in Predicting the Age of Offending Onset in Young People with FASD

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Abstract

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) is characterised by a range of neurodevelopmental deficits that may increase risks of justice system involvement. Improving our understanding of criminogenic risk factors and particularly the role of informant-rated executive functioning (EF) in predicting the age of offending onset in this clinical population may reduce recidivism and help inform targeted interventions. Participants’ file records (N = 100) were retrospectively reviewed to gather information on criminogenic factors (i.e., out-of-home care, adverse childhood experiences, school disengagement, negative peer association, age of substance use onset), and informant ratings from the Behaviour Rating Inventory of Executive Function - 2nd edition (BRIEF2). Scores on the BRIEF2 measure were available for 38 participants upon file review. Across the total sample (N = 100), most participants were male (82%) and of Aboriginal descent (88%). Mean age at the time of assessment was 15.60 years (range = 10–24). After controlling for demographic factors, individual regression analyses showed out-of-home care (B = −0.93, p = .031), negative peer association (B = −0.96, p = .024), and age of substance use onset (B = 0.29, p = .032) predicted the age of offending onset. When all criminogenic factors were entered into the model, only age of substance use onset remained a significant predictor of age of offending onset (B = 0.29, p = .032). Specifically, early substance use initiation resulted in earlier contact with the justice system. Additionally, those with more informant-rated EF difficulties in working memory (B = 0.07, p = .024), task shifting (B = 0.08, p = .011), plan/organise (B = 0.08, p = .014) and inhibition (B = 0.05, p = .048) had a later onset of offending behaviour. Our preliminary findings provide evidence for the vulnerability to justice system involvement in young people with FASD and identified risk factors that can guide prevention and intervention programs.
Original languageEnglish
Article number100109
JournalForensic Science International: Mind and Law
Volume3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022

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