Impulsivity and Risk-Taking in Adolescent Young Offenders: Does Traumatic Brain Injury Play a Role?
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
Reason for embargo
I intend to publish my research
Objective: To investigate whether traumatic brain injury (TBI) plays a role in impulsivity, risk-taking, aggression and other behaviour problems in young offenders. Setting: Youth Offending Teams in the South West of England. Participants: Participants were 21 young offenders with community sentences, aged between 14 and 18 years old. Design: A cross-sectional correlational design. Main measures: A background questionnaire gathered information about the frequency and severity of TBIs, which was used to calculate the “TBI dose”. The Stoplight task and the Stroop test provided behavioural measures of risk-taking and interference control respectively. Self-report questionnaires provided measures of impulsivity (UPPS Impulsivity Scale), aggression (Reactive and Proactive Aggression Questionnaire) and behaviour (Strength and Difficulties Questionnaire). Results: Seventy-six per cent of the sample reported at least one TBI. TBI was not significantly correlated with either any of the other variables. Impulsivity was significantly positively correlated with reactive aggression. Conclusion: This exploratory study concludes that, in the current sample, TBI is not associated with impulsivity or risk-taking. Therefore, it is equally possible that impulsivity and reactive aggression pre-exist TBI. Future research should use a longitudinal design and a larger sample.