Caitlin Cavanagh

Caitlin Cavanagh
Michigan State University | MSU

Doctor of Philosophy

About

39
Publications
4,029
Reads
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480
Citations
Citations since 2017
30 Research Items
459 Citations
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Introduction
I am an Assistant Professor at Michigan State University within the School of Criminal Justice. As a developmental psychologist, I am interested in the dynamic parent-child relationship. My program of research seeks to produce developmentally sound research that can improve how the juvenile justice system interfaces with youth and their families. I am also interested in the unique needs of the Latino community, to reduce their disproportionate contact with the juvenile justice system.
Additional affiliations
September 2012 - June 2016
University of California, Irvine
Position
  • Research Assistant
September 2011 - June 2016
University of California, Irvine
Position
  • PhD Student
January 2007 - May 2010
University of Rochester
Position
  • Research Assistant
Education
September 2006 - May 2011
University of Rochester
Field of study
  • Psychology; Spanish Literature & Culture

Publications

Publications (39)
Article
During the COVID-19 pandemic, social inequities have compounded hardships among justice-involved families, who are more likely to be marginalized by systemic disadvantage. Little is known about the experience of the pandemic for justice-involved families, particularly those with an incarcerated family member. We examined the concerns and resource b...
Article
Purpose The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated chronic disparities in income, employment and health-care access. Yet, little is known about how various sources of economic and emotional strain (i.e. caregiving, justice system involvement and documentation status) intersect during the pandemic. The purpose of this study is to understand how undocumen...
Article
Objectives: Test whether primary caregivers’ monitoring habits protect against recidivism among juvenile justice and dual system youth and whether dual system contact moderates the relation between monitoring habits and recidivism. Methods: Among a sample of 519 male adolescents, logistic regression analyses were conducted assessing the relation be...
Article
This study aimed to examine changes in depression and anxiety symptoms from before to during the first 6 months of the COVID‐19 pandemic in a sample of 1,339 adolescents (9–18 years old, 59% female) from three countries. We also examined if age, race/ethnicity, disease burden, or strictness of government restrictions moderated change in symptoms. D...
Article
Adolescents are developmentally distinct from adults in ways that merit a tailored response to juvenile crime. Normative adolescent brain development is associated with increases in risk taking, which may include criminal behavior. Juvenile delinquency peaks during the adolescent years and declines in concert with psychosocial maturation. However,...
Article
Full-text available
Women, particularly mothers, have faced disparate socioeconomic consequences throughout the COVID‐19 pandemic. Research has yet to examine whether the consequences of the pandemic vary based on the level of neighborhood disorder, which is associated with various health conditions, including COVID‐19 complications. The present study utilizes data fr...
Article
Despite a common conceptual root, research applying legitimacy theory addresses any number of more or less distinct behaviours, attitudes, and processes. Although this variety in approaches has complicated theoretical development, we argue that it is critical to addressing the breadth of the construct. To address this state of affairs, we offer the...
Article
Juvenile risk assessments are standardized rating tools used by court practitioners to measure criminogenic risk in justice-involved youth. To capture individual fluctuation in risk level over time, juvenile risk assessments are often readministered throughout court supervision. The purpose of this study is to clarify the average criminogenic risk...
Article
Objective: Callous-unemotional (CU) traits are associated with chronic and severe antisocial behavior. Although previous research has found that parents play an important role in the etiology and maintenance of youth CU traits, little research has examined the extent that parents' own CU traits impact the stability of their children's CU traits. T...
Article
Background: The outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in the United States resulted in safety guidelines from the Centers from Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) intended to curb the spread of the virus. Adolescents are potentially at risk for disregarding these guidelines due to their reduced psychosocial maturity compared to adults....
Article
In our target article (Hamm et al., Legal and Criminological Psychology, 2022), we propose a Concentric Diagram of Legitimacy as an organizing tool for legitimacy theory. In so doing, we hoped to stimulate a scholarly discussion about the state of the literature and the best avenues for pushing past the field’s current intellectual plateau. Six exp...
Article
Juvenile risk assessments are used to predict likelihood of reoffending in court-involved youths, and inform several decisions throughout court supervision. Accordingly, it is critical that the psychometric properties of juvenile risk assessment instruments are consistent for youths across demographic subgroups, particularly biological sex. This st...
Article
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused immense change and stress among adolescents. Yet, little is known about youths’ concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic. This is particularly true among youth who have been highly impacted by the pandemic—namely, justice system-involved youth, low-income youth, and youth who consider themselves to be low status. Y...
Article
Full-text available
Two features of adolescence have remained largely constant over time—(1) youth experience drastic physical changes during puberty, and (2) many youth engage in antisocial or delinquent behavior. Prior work has found a positive relation between off-time pubertal timing and a host of adverse behaviors including reduced academic performance and substa...
Article
The role of contact with the child welfare system (CWS) in legal socialization is not well understood. This is particularly true of youth who have contact with both the juvenile justice system and the CWS, known as dual system (DS) youth. Furthermore, much of the legal socialization research excludes Latinx youth, for whom legal socialization may f...
Article
Despite surging interest in legal socialization, it is unclear how youth develop legal cynicism. The present study examined two socialization mechanisms for youth legal cynicism: perceptions of police treatment and maternal legal cynicism. Additionally, we assessed the degree to which an adolescent’s legal cynicism predicts reoffending. Youth and t...
Article
Objective: The present study examined how mothers' personal characteristics, experience with, and attitudes toward the juvenile justice system are associated with their knowledge of the juvenile justice system over time. Hypotheses: We hypothesized that additional exposure to the system (via sons' rearrests) would be associated with greater lega...
Article
Objective: Anderson's (1999) "code of the street" (CoS) framework posits that exposure to violence (ETV) is linked to violent offending through youth adopting the CoS. This study quantitatively examines this mediation, as well as the additional mediating role of youths' perceptions of police. Method: This study used a racially/ethnically diverse sa...
Article
Recent unjust interactions between law enforcement and youth of color may have provoked a “crisis” in American law enforcement. Utilizing Monitoring the Future’s data on distinct, cross-sectional cohorts of 12th graders from each year spanning 1976–2016, we examined whether youth perceptions of law enforcement have changed. We also traced youth wor...
Preprint
Recent unjust interactions between law enforcement and youth of color may have provoked a “crisis” in American law enforcement. Utilizing Monitoring the Future’s data on distinct, cross-sectional cohorts of 12th graders from each year spanning 1976-2016, we examined whether youth perceptions of law enforcement have changed. We also traced youth wor...
Article
Both personal experience and parental attitudes shape youths’ attitudes toward the justice system. The present study tested the influence of (a) youth rearrests and (b) parents’ attitudes toward police on trajectories of youthful offenders’ attitudes toward police over 3 years. Among a sample of 317 first-time male juvenile offenders and their moth...
Article
This multi-cohort study delineates developmental trajectories of psychopathic features across childhood and adolescence (ages 7–16) and investigates associations with adult outcomes (ages ∼ 23–34). Although most youth demonstrated consistently low levels of psychopathic features, approximately 10–15% followed a chronically high trajectory. A simila...
Article
Mothers of 317 first‐time juvenile offenders (M = 15.35 years old) were interviewed over 2.5 years about their expectations and aspirations for their sons' futures. Mothers' expectations were lower than their aspirations, reflecting a discrepancy between what mothers felt was important for their child's future and what they considered likely to hap...
Article
Full-text available
To understand how youth desist from crime after their first arrest, it is necessary to investigate their primary support system: their parents. As such, this study examined the reciprocal effects of justice system contact on the mother–child dyad. Interviews with 317 mothers and their sons from Orange County, CA, Jefferson Parish, LA, and Philadelp...
Article
Youth who hold negative attitudes toward the justice system are more likely to engage in crime. It is particularly important to study attitudes early in someone’s criminal career when they may still be open to change. To date, however, there has been no empirical test assessing whether the relation between attitudes and behavior changes after a fir...
Article
When a youth is accused of committing a crime, juvenile justice system arbiters, such as probation officers, interview both the youth and the youth’s guardian to gather information before deciding to either process the youth formally or informally. Factors about a youth that are unrelated to the criminal charge may contribute to arbiters’ processin...
Article
Juvenile offenders may be too young to manage the terms of their probation independently; a parent’s participation in the probationary process is critical for youths’ successful transition to crime desistence. However, a parent’s capacity for support during his or her child’s legal process may depend on the parent’s knowledge of how the justice sys...
Article
During adolescence, youths develop attitudes about the justice system. Although there is consistent evidence that personal experiences with legal actors contribute to attitudes toward the justice system, adolescents' attitudes may also be influenced vicariously through their friends' experiences with the justice system. Using data from a sample of...
Article
Judgments about a youth’s level of remorse are frequently used to make important decisions in the juvenile justice system that can have serious consequences to the person. Unfortunately, little is known about these ratings and what factors may influence them. In a sample of 325 1st-time youth offenders who were arrested for offenses of moderate sev...
Article
Can psychopathy be identified as accurately during adolescence as adulthood? To address this developmental question, this study compared the stability of scores on the leading measure of psychopathy, the Psychopathy Checklist (PCL), among 202 adolescent (M = 15.8 years, SD = 0.89) and 134 adult (M = 27.5, SD = 1.08) offenders. Over a 2-year period,...
Article
Psychopathy, as it is popularly conceptualized, includes personality features (callousness, lack of remorse or shame, manipulativeness, and pathologic egocentricity) which imply impediments to the formation of traditional social bonds. However, it has been suggested that individuals with psychopathic traits may be affected by their social context,...
Article
Negative attitudes toward the justice system are associated with higher rates of reoffending, but there is little information about how these negative attitudes are formed among youth. Despite the welldocumented link between parents' and children's attitudes in other domains, no research has explored how parents' attitudes toward the justice system...
Article
Approximately 8 million Latinos in the United States are undocumented immigrants, nearly half of whom are parents to a minor. Concerns over deportation may affect the way families with undocumented members perceive legal authorities relative to documented immigrant families. Yet, there have been few studies on how Latinos (documented or undocumente...
Chapter
Recent research on adolescent development suggests that, despite their improvements in cognitive abilities, deficits in psychosocial maturity explain a great deal of the increased risk-taking and criminal behavior observed in the second decade of life. This chapter focuses on the psychological explanations of adolescent risk-taking in general, and...
Article
Although impulsivity is one of the strongest psychological predictors of crime, it is unclear how well impulsivity, measured at a specific moment in adolescence, predicts criminal behavior months or years into the future. The present study investigated how far into the future self-reports and parents' reports of a youth's impulsivity predicted whet...

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