Evaluating Adolescent Decision Making in Legal Contexts

Publication Date: June 1995

Publisher: MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Adolescent Development and Juvenile Justice (ADJJ)

Author(s): N. Dickon Reppucci; Elizabeth S. Scott

Research Area: Justice; Population and demographics

Keywords: Juvenile offenders; Juvenile justice; Behavioral development; Adolescent development

Type: Report

Coverage: United States


Challenges the use by policy researchers of a model for comparing adolescent and adult decision making that is based on informed consent standards. An expanded decision-making framework designed to evaluate "judgment" in adults and adolescents can better test the empirical basis of paternalistic legal policies. The theoretical and empirical literature on the informed consent framework is critiqued and an alternative framework incorporating judgment factors is proposed. Three judgment factors - temporal perspective, attitude toward risk, and peer and parental influence - and their effects on decision making are explored. Finally, implications for future research are analyzed in several decision-making contexts.