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Female Delinquency, Feminism, and Psychoanalysis - An Overview (From Aggressive Adolescent, P 403-431, 1984, Charles R Keith, ed, - See NCJ-98503)

NCJ Number
C R Keith
Date Published
29 pages
A review of literature on female delinquency explores the reasons for the lack of research on this topic, the role of feminism in stimulating fresh looks at the subject, and the need for retaining the insights of psychoanalysis in considering this area.
The lack of research on female delinquency probably reflects both the small incidence of female delinquency in comparison to male delinquency and the general lack of understanding of what it means to be female in our society. The documentation of changes in patterns of female delinquency and the recent women's movement seem to have caused the current upsurge in interest in adolescent female development and problems. Arrest statistics and self-report studies are the current sources of data on female delinquency. Two recent reviews of literature on the causes of female delinquency are decidedly feminist in tone. Although they make valuable points, their ideological approach has led to attacks on some potentially useful findings from clinical studies. A more evenhanded review has recognized the more current research into biological factors as well as individual-psychological and < family perspectives. These approaches all have merit. In addition, the psychoanalytic approaches that have grown out of the traditional focus on biology and individual psychology promise to lead to clearer understanding of societal influences on the narcissistic component of personality. The influences of societal forces and the changing position of women needs further consideration. Interdependence rather than alienation of feminism and psychoanalysis appears to be the most fruitful approach for understanding female delinquency. Four notes and 94 references are supplied.