U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Limits and Potential of Social Intervention in Adolescence: An Exemplary Analysis (From Social Intervention: Potential and Constraints, P 219-238, 1987, Klaus Hurrelmann, et. al., eds.)

NCJ Number
K Hurrelmann
Date Published
20 pages
Social intervention can only be effective and useful if it focuses on different steps in the genesis and development of deviant and problem behaviors.
The conditions for the transition from adolescence to adulthood have changed dramatically over the past three or four generations. In modern industrial societies, young people spend up to their first three decades in formal schooling settings, delaying their entry into the labor force and the beginning of responsibility for their own material well-being. The process of separation from the parental home usually takes place later in life than it did a generation ago. However, young people develop their own personalities and lifestyle outside of the home, through leisure, political, and religious associations. The peer group has taken on increased socialization importance, which grows proportionally to the social separation from the family. The structural features of this status transition contain numerous risk factors for deviant and problem behaviors among adolescents. High-risk constellations are poor educational achievement and failure in the school career, social conflict and emotional tension with parents, and lack of social integration into the peer group. Personal and social resources are moderating factors that determine whether or not a consolidation of problem behavior and the development of a continuing deviance will occur. The author uses drug consumption in adolescents aged 12 to 17 as an exemplary analysis of the connection between risk factors and a specific form of problem behavior. Exact knowledge of the antecedent conditions, genesis, and further development of the problem behavior is a prerequisite for effective intervention strategies. Ideally, preventive and corrective interventions must be implemented in a coordinated fashion in order to be effective. The focus of all intervention practices must be directed toward influencing both personal and social resources and their interaction, with the objective of reducing the tensions between social demands and the individual's competence in coping with these situations. 2 figures, 51 references.


No download available