Within the United Kingdom, 75% of young men aged 18–25 will reoffend within two years of being released from prison, yet we still do not know enough about how underlying protective mechanisms contribute to positive outcomes for those who have engaged in antisocial behaviour. This study explored the mechanisms that support young men's resilience to reoffending. The aim was to inform the approach of practitioners working with this population, in particular counselling psychologists, and to contribute to youth justice policy. Additionally, young people who are involved in crime are often discussed in the literature on youth offending and mental health, yet rarely given the chance to tell their story of changing their trajectory. Eight young men, aged 18–25, with previous involvement in the criminal justice system were interviewed using narrative enquiry with an emphasis on the subjective experiences that nurtured their resilient pathways. The study drew on Hart, Blincow and Thomas’ Resilience Framework (Hart, Blincow, & Thomas, 2007) to categorise the data. The young men's accounts highlighted that mechanisms within all the categories of the Resilience Therapy (Hart, Blincow & Thomas, 2007) framework were pertinent in nurturing resilient pathways: Basics, Belonging, Learning, Coping and Core Self. The study further demonstrated how the young men's contexts were significant in fostering their resilience to reoffending. The findings suggest the importance of a counselling and psychotherapy approach that targets both social and individual mechanisms to facilitate growth. In a context with significant social, economic and political challenges, the absence of a two-pronged approach will limit the young men's resilience to surviving.
Bibliographical noteThis is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
- psychological therapies
- resilience framework
- social justice
- youth justice