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Validity of Instrument Used to Predict Delinquency in Early Life

Source: Newsletter, April 1960

Context: “Early in January 1960, Ralph Whelan, Coordinator of Youth Services of the City of New York, held a press conference in which he stated that the results of the study by the New York City Youth Board justified claims that’s valid instrument existed for predicting delinquency early in life.” SPPSI council issued a statement dated January 31, 1960 on The New York City Youth Board's Report “An experiment in Predicting Juvenile Delinquency."

Position Statement: Excerpt taken from Newsletter (see April 1960 Newsletter for full text): “The council of the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues, after study and discussion of the widely publicized report by the New York City Youth Board which purported to have established a valid basis for predicting delinquency, passed a resolution expressing its grave concern that the published interpretations of these findings were fallacious and misleading. The Society, a division of the American Psychological Association, expressed its conviction that any action affecting children based upon the present results and conclusions of this study could lead to serious abuses, increase the incidence of delinquency, and damage already vulnerable human beings. The Society specifically pointed out that .claims that a valid instrument for predicting 'early in life' are premature and highly questionable.”