Executive functions, attention and juvenile delinquency

Martha Frías-Armenta, Pablo Valdez-Ramírez, Guadalupe Nava-Cruz, Aurelio J. Figueredo, Victor Corral-Verdugo

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

3 Scopus citations


This chapter is aimed at elucidating whether juvenile delinquents have poorer executive functioning in inhibition, flexibility, and attention, than control adolescents. Seventy-five Mexican teenagers participated in a study. The total sample was divided into three groups, one consisting of minors institutionalized by a juvenile court for serious offenses (N=24), another reported for antisocial behavior (n=24) and a control group from the general population (N=27) that was matched by sex, age and schooling to the juvenile court group. Demographic variables were considered and executive functions were assessed by means of the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test, and the Shifting Criteria Stroop Test- a modified version of the Stroop test- and the Continuous Performance test. T-tests were conducted to compare group means between the delinquent and control groups, and between juveniles having committed serious offences and those with statutory offenses. An ANOVA (GLM procedure) was also conducted to compare the three groups: the control group, the juveniles with serious offenses, and the juveniles with statutory offenses. Results showed means differences in some tasks of the Wisconsin test between the institutionalized adolescents and the control group. There were no significant differences in the STROOP test between the control group and the delinquent group. However, significant differences in inhibitory tasks were found between juveniles with serious and statutory offenses. Differences were also found in some indicators of selective and sustained attention, and tonic and phasic alertness, between the control group and the delinquent minors. Results are discussed in regard to minors' inability to respond adequately to the social environment, which results from neuropsychological impairment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationBio-Psycho-Social Perspectives on Interpersonal Violence
PublisherNova Science Publishers, Inc.
Number of pages21
ISBN (Print)9781616681593
StatePublished - Feb 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Social Sciences(all)
  • Psychology(all)


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