Communication and Behavioral Considerations in Planning Programs for Female Juvenile Delinquents

Sanger, Dixie; Maag, John W.; Spilker, Anna
June 2006
Journal of Correctional Education;Jun2006, Vol. 57 Issue 2, p108
Academic Journal
Recent information on the incidence and types of language and communication problems experienced by female delinquents and the relation they have to emotional and behavioral disorders (EBD) indicate a contribution to the problems these girls have encountered in social and academic situations. Pragmatics (i.e., use of language in interpersonal communication) is of particular concern to this population clue to its relation to interpersonal competence (Sanger, Maag, & Shapera, 1994). Pragmatics refers to the way language is used to communicate, to affect others, or relay information (Owens, 2001). It describes a set of sociolinguistic rules used to determine how individuals communicate with one another, depending on the context of the situation (Muma, 1978). Pragmatic skills such as conversational and story-telling abilities, are related to social skills training (SST) and, consequently, both are relevant to professionals responsible for developing rehabilitative programs for female delinquents. However, many SST programs ignore the important role pragmatics plays. Therefore, the purposes of this article were to review the language, communication, and psychosocial characteristics of adolescent female delinquents, and to present recommendations for correctional educators incorporating instruction on pragmatics into social skills training (SST).


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