self-stigmatization; stigma; juvenile delinquents


Cognitive Psychology | Experimental Analysis of Behavior | School Psychology


The present study investigates cognitive features of stigmatization phenomenon among juvenile delinquents in Kyrgyzstan. It attempts to describe certain peculiarities of juvenile delinquents’ self-schemas and self-stigmatization. The study, additionally, tackles the issue of currently existing stigmas regarding juvenile delinquency in the country. One hundred and fifty four university students were asked to complete a questionnaire that would measure the level of external stigmatization towards juvenile delinquents and those who were once placed into correctional institution. Students showed presence of stigmatization towards people with a criminal record. Fifteen juveniles from the detention school who attended a socio-psychological training as well as eighteen delinquent juveniles who attended the same detention school, but did not have any training, were asked to complete semantic differential self-questionnaires that measured the level of internal stigmatization. It was found that delinquent juveniles in Kyrgyzstan self stigmatize, when compared to the control group of fifty four non-delinquent juveniles, who attended a regular school. However, there was a trend towards positive effect of the socio-psychological training that was intended to develop delinquents’ social skills. Since self-stigmatization was shown to influence the process of rehabilitation and social adaptation, it might become one of the major obstacles for successful rehabilitation and re-integration of juvenile delinquents into society after graduation from the detention school. Our study, therefore, argues for the high need of specialized socio-psychological training program for juvenile delinquents.