Challenges when Working with Adolescents having Divergent Behaviour

MQF Level: 7

ECTS Value: 5 ECTS

Self Study Hours: 60

Contact Hours: 25

Assessment Hours: 40

Duration: 10 sessions


Overall Objectives and Outcomes

This unit helps professionals working with young people demonstrating delinquent behaviours to primarily understand some possible root causes, including neurodiversity issues, in relation to research findings. It focuses on the need for adventure and how this can be used to channel their need for thrill seeking in socially acceptable manners. It also considers their low levels of impulsivity thresholds, a common characteristic in youths indulging in delinquent or even criminal behaviours. On a different note, it focuses also on the lack of emotional warmth that may be present in their families and how professionals working with these young people on a wide spectrum ranging from the social to the educational and the health sectors may possibly help them through skills such as empathy.

By the end of this programme, participants should be able to:


a. Assess early signs and symptoms that may potentially lead adolescents to developing challenging behaviours;

b. Reduce negative stereotyping and discrimination against adolescents demonstrating divergent behaviours;

c. Engage positive when facing adolescent challenging behaviours;

d. Implement appropriate measures to counter adolescent divergent behaviour;

e. Facilitate appropriate interpersonal and communication skills with adolescents demonstrating challenging behaviour;

f. Manage occupational stress and develop strategies combatting burnout when working with youths with divergent behaviour.


a. Develop an understanding of divergent behaviour in youngsters;

b. Understand issues related to neurodiversity and how these may impact behaviour in adolescents and youths;

c. Appreciate further the advantages of inclusion for youths demonstrating divergent behaviour with main stream society;

d. Discuss practical ways to deal with divergent challenging behaviours;

e. Describe problematic situations caused by youths indulging in criminal activities.


a. Apply strategies towards supporting schools with students demonstrating challenging behaviours;

b. Apply effective interventions with the aim of channelling challenging behaviour into a socially accepted form of behaviour;

c. Adopt a multi-disciplinary approach when facing juvenile divergent behaviour;

d. Critique stereotypes of young offenders.

Assessment Methods

This module will be assessed through: Presentation and Assignment.

Suggested Readings

Core Reading List
  1. Adisa, T. A., Aiyenitaju, O., & Adekoya, O. D. (2021). The work–family balance of British working women during the COVID-19 pandemic. Journal of Work-Applied Management, 13(2), 241-260.
  2. Beck, N., & Wong, J. S. (2022). A meta-analysis of the effects of wilderness therapy on delinquent behaviours among youth. Criminal Justice and Behavior,49(5), 700-729.
  3. Cutrín, O., Maneiro, L., Chowdhury, Y., Kulis, S. S., Marsiglia, F. F., & Gómez Fraguela, J. A. (2022). Longitudinal associations between parental support and parental knowledge on behavioural and emotional problems in adolescents. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 51(6), 1169-1180.
  4. Elliott, K. A., & Daley, D. (2013). Stress, coping, and psychological well-being among forensic health care professionals. Legal and Criminological Psychology, 18(2), 187-204.
  5. Howey, W., Lundahl, B., & Assadollahi, A. (2022). Effectiveness of residential treatment for juveniles with problematic sexual behavior: A systematic review. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 19(23), 15625.
  6. Pickett, J. T. (2017). Blame their mothers: Public opinion about maternal employment as a cause of juvenile delinquency. Feminist Criminology, 12(4), 361-383.
  7. Tarrant, E. A., & Torn, A. (2021). A qualitative exploration of young people and prison officers’ experiences of empathy within a young offenders’ institution. Journal of Criminological Research, Policy and Practice (Online), 7(4), 296-317.
  8. Vander Ven, T. (2003). Working mothers and juvenile delinquency. LFB Scholarly Publishing LLC.
  9. Vogel, M. S., & van Ham, M. (2018). Unpacking the relationships between impulsivity, neighbourhood disadvantage, and adolescent violence: An application of a neighbourhood-based group decomposition. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 47 (2018)(4), 859-871. 
Supplementary Reading List
  1. several_to_be_charged_with_disseminating_extremist_material_terrorism
Skip to content