Methods: A linear regression using PROCESS Macro (Hayes, 2017) in SPSS was utilized as the analytical strategy. This strategy includes the interaction effect of two predictor variables (exposure to violence and self- restraint) on an outcome (violent offending) in a sample of (n=184) serious female offenders aged 14-18 years old, recruited through the juvenile justice (JJ) system.
Results: After controlling for 3 variables; race, family structure and neighborhood conditions, the overall model is significant (p < .01) and the predictor variables (exposure to violence and self-restraint) contribute 42% variance to the outcome variable (level of aggressive offending). The moderation; interaction effect of the dependent variable was also significant (p= .014). The results indicate that exposure to violence matters least to those with higher temperance and the relationship between exposure to violence and aggressive offending grows stronger with lower levels of self-restraint.
Conclusion: With the high proportion of females in the JJ system experiencing violence and adverse consequences, the level of violent offending in this population could increase. This calls for equitable violence prevention and intervention for females that are gender specific and responsive, to reverse the potential effect of being exposed to violence. This intervention includes the building of the internal skill of self- restraint to counteract their negative environment, and cope with their emotions in a noncriminal manner. It is hopeful that violent offending among this population will be drastically reduced long term with added emphasis on building internal assets.
Keywords: violent offending, juvenile justice involved females, self- restraint