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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2021  |  Volume : 30  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 141-146  Table of Contents     

Impact of mindfulness-based therapy on psychological characteristics of juveniles in conflict with law in India


Department of Psychiatry, Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College and Hospital, Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh, India

Date of Submission22-Mar-2020
Date of Acceptance27-Dec-2020
Date of Web Publication30-Jun-2021

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Deoshree Akhouri
Associate Professor and Clinical Psychologist, Department of Psychiatry, Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College and Hospital, Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/ipj.ipj_32_20

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   Abstract 


Background: According to National Crime Records Bureau, India, there has been a significant increase in criminal activities among juvenile over the past 3 years, especially in Uttar Pradesh in comparison to other Northern States. Various management strategies have been undertaken for such adolescents. However, there is a lack of management strategies in the Indian context for juvenile in conflict with law. Thus, this research work aims to see the effect of mindfulness-based therapy (MBT) on juveniles in conflict with law and not in conflict with law. Aim: The aim of the study was to see the effect of MBT on juveniles in conflict with law and not in conflict with law; to assess and compare the effect of MBT on their temperament, aggression, emotional quotient, and social quotient; and to see the effect of MBT on their level of mindfulness. Methodology: A total 25 adolescents of 13–19 years of age, both genders, literate and illiterate belonging from rural and urban population were included for the study. Among these, 17 juveniles in conflict with law were taken from District Child Protection Unit and eight juveniles not in conflict with law were taken from general adolescent population. After explaining the purpose of the study and attaining the consent from guardians, assessment was done using different psychological tools. MBT was used for the management. The pre-postresearch design was used. Results and Conclusion: Results obtained in this study are suggestive of that MBT is a fruitful management technique for juveniles in conflict with law serving in observation homes as well as for juveniles not in conflict with law.

Keywords: Adolescents, India, juvenile in conflict with law and not juvenile in conflict with law, mindfulness-based therapy


How to cite this article:
Madiha M, Akhouri D. Impact of mindfulness-based therapy on psychological characteristics of juveniles in conflict with law in India. Ind Psychiatry J 2021;30:141-6

How to cite this URL:
Madiha M, Akhouri D. Impact of mindfulness-based therapy on psychological characteristics of juveniles in conflict with law in India. Ind Psychiatry J [serial online] 2021 [cited 2021 Aug 1];30:141-6. Available from: https://www.industrialpsychiatry.org/text.asp?2021/30/1/141/320368



According to National Crime Records Bureau, there has been a significant increase in criminal activities among juvenile over the past 3 years, especially in Uttar Pradesh in comparison to other Northern States. Uttar Pradesh saw an immense increase in criminal activities among children in conflict with law from 1397 (2014) to 1438 (2016).[1] There are various psychological as well as behavioral characteristics (aggression, emotional quotient, parenting styles, etc.,) that are associated with conduct disorder or delinquency as termed in legal settings.

Over these years, we have witnessed involvement of adolescents in conduct disorder or actual delinquent activities. Therefore, there is a need for proper assessment of factors associated with these actions. A study conducted by Poonam and Hillol Mukherjee compared delinquents (juveniles in conflict with law) with nondelinquents (juveniles not in conflict with law) and found that both differed in respect to their personalities. Hence, this study has also taken-up assessment of personality temperament of both delinquents and their counterpart nondelinquents.[2] Aggression as well as impulsivity are important part of temperament and contribute to major psychiatric disorders such as Attention Deficient Hyperactivity Disorder, substance use disorders, bipolar disorder, antisocial personality disorder, borderline personality disorder, and conduct disorder. In a study by Goldstein et al., found high level of aggression among female juvenile offenders.[3] Adolescents frequently act in impulse-substance abuse, self-harming behavior, etc.; therefore, there is a need for proper screening of impulsivity present in them.

Not only does temperament or aggression could help predict the presence of delinquency tendency in adolescents. Different studies have indicated that delinquents also show low levels of emotional and social quotients. Sharma et al. conducted a study on emotional intelligence (EI) and its association with criminal behavior and found positive association between them, i.e., convicted offenders have low level of EI.[4]

Atefeh Milani found that mindfulness-based therapy (MBT) has positive influence on treating aggression in individuals residing in correctional facilities.[5] Similar effect of MBT was found on EI of adolescents in classroom by Rodríguez-Ledo et al.[6] Different researchers have explored the nature and factors associated with delinquency but not much has been done in this context, especially in Indian setting. We still lack in researches in this area and their management. Researchers have explored the relationship between mindfulness-based therapies on behavioral problems of delinquents but most of these studies have been conducted in Western settings. Therefore, the present study, a pilot study, has been designed to overcome these shortcomings. The aim of the present study is to see the effect of MBT on juveniles in conflict with law and not in conflict with law and different behavioral and psychological factors associated with it.

Objectives

  1. To assess and compare the effect of MBT on temperament, aggression, emotional quotient, and social quotient of juveniles in conflict with law and not in conflict with law
  2. To see the effect of MBT on level of mindfulness of juveniles in conflict with law and not in conflict with law.



   Methodology Top


Participants

Through purposive sampling, a total of 72 adolescents, meeting inclusion and exclusion criteria were taken for the study.

Inclusion criteria (for juveniles in conflict with law)

Adolescents within age range of 13–19 years, both girls and boys, both iterate and illiterate, and belonging from rural and urban population were taken. Adolescents with average intellectual ability were included; specific emphasis was given on those with a history of robbery, snatching, heinous crimes, etc., leading to confinement in correction facilities.

Inclusion criteria (for juveniles not in conflict with law)

Adolescents within age range of 13–19 years, both girls and boys, both illiterate, and belonging from rural and urban population were taken. Adolescents with average intellectual ability were included; specific emphasis was given on those with no prior history of robbery, snatching, etc., leading to confinement in correction facilities.

Exclusion criteria (for juveniles in conflict with law)

Adolescents below 13 years or above 19 years of age were excluded. Adolescents with the absence of criminal history or presence of family criminal history were also excluded from the study. Adolescents with below average intellectual ability or family history of psychiatric illness were also not included.

Exclusion criteria (for juveniles not in conflict with law)

Adolescents below 13 years or above 19 years of age were excluded. Adolescents with the presence of criminal history or presence of family criminal history were also excluded from the study. Adolescents with below average intellectual ability or family history of psychiatric illness were also not included.

Procedure

A total of 72 adolescents who met inclusion and exclusion criteria were taken for the study. Among these, 22 juveniles in conflict with law were taken from District Child Protection Unit, Aligarh and 50 juveniles not in conflict with law were taken from general adolescent population. After explaining the purpose of the study and attaining the consent from guardians, assessment was done using Socio-Demographic Data Sheet, General Health Questionnaire-12,[7] Vineland Social Maturity Scale (VSMS)[8] Dimensions on Temperament Scale,[9] Aggression Scale,[10] Mangal EI Inventory,[11] and Social Intelligence Scale.[12] Conduct Disorder Rating Scale-Parents Version[13] was used to assess or find out the symptoms of conduct disorder present in juveniles not in conflict with law. For the final management purpose, 25 adolescents were taken, where 17 were juveniles in conflict with law and 8 juveniles not in conflict with law. These adolescents scored high on Aggression Scale and negative aspects of dimensions of temperament scale (DTS) and low on EI and Social intelligence scales. Remaining 5 juveniles in conflict with law and 42 juveniles not in conflict with law were excluded because their scores on Aggression Scales and negative aspects of dimensions of temperament scale (DTS) was low and they scored high on EI and Social Intelligence. These adolescents scored high on Aggression Scale and negative aspects of dimensions of temperament scale (DTS) and low on EI and Social intelligence scales. Cognitive and affective mindfulness scale-revised was used for the assessment of mindfulness.[14]

Statistical analysis

Using IBM SPSS Statistics for Windows, Version 26.0. Armonk, NY: IBM Corp., t-test was used to see the effect of mindfulness meditation from pre to postintervention and comparison was made between both the two groups. Column graphs were used to show the sociodemographic details of the adolescents and to represent the effect of mindfulness meditation from pre to postintervention.


   Results Top


[Table 1] shows the sociodemographic details of all the adolescents. Most of the juveniles in conflict with law and not in conflict with law belonged from rural area, 88% and 75%, respectively. Maximum were boys of age range 16–19 years belonging from low socioeconomic background. About 82% of juveniles in conflict with law were incarcerated and 87% of juveniles not in conflict with law were involved in conduct activities for more than 6 months. The Chi-square test showed no difference between the two groups.
Table 1: Sociodemographic details of adolescents

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[Table 2] shows aggression level of juveniles in conflict with law reduced after the intervention of MBT. In preintervention assessment, level of aggression was mean = 54.52, standard deviation (SD) =5.36, while it reduced to mean = 38.26, SD = 7.23 postintervention. Significant difference was found among the pre postintervention. Similarly, significant difference among the scores of emotional quotient was found which increased from mean = 54.82, SD = 8.56 to mean = 94.73, SD = 18.16. The statistically significant result indicates the effect of MBT. Similarly, significant of MBT was found on social quotient, mean = 22.88 (preintervention) and mean = 44.8 (postintervention).
Table 2: The level of aggression, emotional and social intelligence of juveniles in conflict with law (pre‑post‑intervention)

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[Table 3] shows the aggression level of juveniles not in conflict with law reduced after the intervention of MBT. Preintervention assessment showed the increased level of aggression (mean = 51, SD = 5.07) reducing to mean = 29, SD = 5.75 postintervention. The statistically significant result indicates the effect of MBT on level of aggression. Similarly, significant difference among the scores of emotional quotient was found increasing from mean = 49.25, SD = 2.49 to mean = 93.87, SD = 20.11. Significant difference was found among the pre postintervention. Similarly, social quotient also increased from mean = 22.75 (preintervention) to mean = 45.87 (postintervention).
Table 3: The level of aggression, emotional and social intelligence of juveniles not in conflict with law (pre‑post‑intervention)

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[Table 4] shows the mean scores along with SD scores of juveniles in conflict with law on the DTS. The dimensions impulsivity and aggressiveness showed elevated scores indicating high levels of impulsivity and aggression as temperament is present in juveniles in conflict with law. Post the MBT intervention, these elevated scores reduced showing the effect of MBT. On the other hand, all the other dimensions of temperament such as sociability, ascendance, secretiveness, reflectance, placid, acceptance, responsibility, vigorous, cooperation, persistence, warmth, tolerance, and tough-mindedness saw an increase in the scores as the MBT intervention took place which was found statistically significant, explaining that MBT has significant influence on various dimensions of temperament.
Table 4: Mean, standard deviation on dimensions of temperament scale of juveniles in conflict with law (pre‑post‑intervention)

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[Table 5] also shows the mean scores along with SD scores of juveniles not in conflict with law on the DTS. Nondelinquents also showed elevated scores on the dimensions of impulsivity and aggressiveness. These elevated scores reduced as the MBT intervention took place. Moreover, all the other dimensions of temperament such as sociability, ascendance, secretiveness, reflectance, placid, acceptance, responsibility, vigorous, cooperation, persistence, warmth, tolerance, and tough-mindedness saw significant increase in the scores as the MBT intervention took place which was found statistically significant, explaining that MBT has significant influence on various dimensions of temperament.
Table 5: Mean, standard deviation on dimensions of temperament scale of juveniles not in conflict with law (pre‑post‑intervention)

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[Table 6] and [Graph 1] indicate effect of mindfulness meditation on the level of mindfulness on juveniles in conflict with law and not in conflict with law. The level of mindfulness of juveniles in conflict with law increased from preintervention (mean = 38.18, SD = 7.65) to postintervention (mean = 107.41, SD = 12.3). The level of mindfulness of juveniles not in conflict with law enhanced from mean = 33.63, SD = 3.96 (preintervention) to mean = 102.63, SD = 11.84 (postintervention).
Table 6: Level of mindfulness of adolescents (pre‑post mindfulness intervention)

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   Discussion Top


Deviant behavior of adolescents has always been a concern for the society, and it is high time for us to realize the importance of combating it. The present study was conducted to identify the behavioral and psychological characteristics of juveniles in conflict with law and not in conflict with law so that future prediction or prevention could be done. Along with identification, management of these adolescents was also undertaken.

The results of the present study showed a significant effect of MBT on (DTS; [Tables 4 and 5]), where impulsivity and aggressiveness of juveniles in conflict with law were high in comparison to juveniles not in conflict with law, supporting the previously conducted study by Gungea and Jaunky.[15] When comparison was done among juveniles in conflict with law and not in conflict with law, it was found that juveniles in conflict with law showed higher level of aggression on Aggression Scale [Tables 2 and 3]. With MBT as main intervention, postintervention scores suggest positive effect of MBT, supporting the previously conducted study by Atefeh Milani.[5] Differences found in the present study also indicate that, when level of aggression, there are more chances of adolescents to be involved in different types of conduct activities.

The relation between EI and criminal behavior has been reported in the current study [Tables 2 and 3]. To enhance juveniles in conflict with law's EI, MBT was found as an effective technique supporting the recent study done by Rodríguez-Ledo et al. where MBT's effect was seen on EI of adolescents in the classroom.[6] Similar results were found for social intelligence post the intervention of MBT. Social intelligence is an individual's capacity to adapt and adjust to his social settings appropriately. In the present study, delinquent and juvenile not in conflict with law showed same level of social intelligence. Post the intervention, their social intelligence also improved [Tables 2 and 3]. The improvement of social intelligence is important in prediction and management of delinquency or conduct disorder as previously conducted study as well as the present find an association between the two.[16]

The results of the study clearly show that MBT has led to immense improvement in behavioral problems present in both juveniles in conflict with law and not in conflict with law. Research in forensic psychiatry has increased all over the world. However, in Indian context, there is still scarcity of such researches. This research work is an attempt to overcome these shortcomings and help in the prevention of adolescent's involvement in delinquency in future.


   Conclusion Top


The present study is in line with previous studies, supporting that MBT is indeed an effective intervention technique for behavioral problems of juveniles in conflict with law and not in conflict with law. It is also effective in improving temperament, aggression, and emotional as well as social quotient.

Limitations

  1. No control group was taken
  2. The result of the study could not be generalized as the sample size was small
  3. There are other variables that could be taken up such as impulsivity, defense mechanism, parenting style, etc.
  4. Age was restricted in the study.


Acknowledgment

The authors would like to thank all the participants and their parents of the study and staff members of the Department.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
   References Top

1.
India PS. National Crime Records Bureau. Ministry Of Home Affairs, Government Of India, New Delhi. 2011.  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
Mukherjee P, Mukherjee H. Personality Disposition Of Juvenile Delinquents; 2014.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
Goldstein NE, Giallella CL, Haney‑Caron E, Peterson L, Serico J, Kemp K, et al. Juvenile Justice Anger Management (JJAM) Treatment for Girls: Results of a randomized controlled trial. Psychol Serv 2018;15:386‑97.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
Sharma N, Prakash O, Sengar KS, Chaudhury S, Singh AR. The relation between emotional intelligence and criminal behavior: A study among convicted criminals. Ind Psychiatry J 2015;24:54‑8.  Back to cited text no. 4
[PUBMED]  [Full text]  
5.
Milani A, Nikmanesh Z, Farnam A. Effectiveness of mindfulness‑based cognitive therapy (MBCT) in reducing aggression of individuals at the juvenile correction and rehabilitation center. Int J High Risk Behav Addict 2013;2:126‑31.  Back to cited text no. 5
    
6.
Rodríguez‑Ledo C, Orejudo S, Cardoso MJ, Balaguer Á, Zarza‑Alzugaray J. Emotional intelligence and mindfulness: Relation and enhancement in the classroom with adolescents. Front Psychol 2018;9:2162.  Back to cited text no. 6
    
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Goldberg DP, Hillier VF. A scaled version of the General Health Questionnaire. Psychol Med 1979;9:139‑45.   Back to cited text no. 7
    
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Doll EA. The measurement of social competence: A manual for the Vineland Social Maturity Scale.   Back to cited text no. 8
    
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Chadha NK, Chandna S. Dimensions of Temperament Scale. New Delhi: National Psychological Corporation; 1984.  Back to cited text no. 9
    
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Pal R, Naqvi T. Manual for Aggression Scale. Agra: Agra Psychological Research Cell; 1986.  Back to cited text no. 10
    
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Mangal SK. Manual for Mangal Emotional Intelligence Inventory. Agra: National Psychological Corporation; 2004.  Back to cited text no. 11
    
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Chadha NK, Ganesan U. Manual for Social Intelligence Scale. Agra: (SIS), National Psychological Corporation, 4/230; 2009.  Back to cited text no. 12
    
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Waschbusch DA, Elgar FJ. Development and validation of the conduct disorder rating scale. Assessment 2007;14:65‑74.  Back to cited text no. 13
    
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Feldman G, Hayes A, Kumar S, Greeson J, Laurenceau JP. Mindfulness and emotion regulation: The development and initial validation of the Cognitive and Affective Mindfulness Scale‑Revised (CAMS‑R). J Psychopathol Behav Assess 2007;29:177.  Back to cited text no. 14
    
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Gungea M, Jaunky VC, Ramesh V. Personality traits and juvenile delinquency. Int J Conceptions Manage Soc Sci 2017;5:42‑6.  Back to cited text no. 15
    
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Jug, V. Personality traits, social intelligence, social support and juvenile delinquency (Doctoral dissertation, Univerza na Primorskem, Inštitut Andrej Marušič). 2015.  Back to cited text no. 16
    



 
 
    Tables

  [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3], [Table 4], [Table 5], [Table 6]



 

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