This chapter highlights telic dominance and delinquency in adolescent boys. It illustrates the comparison of the tendency to occupy the telic state in samples of delinquent adolescents, disruptive non-delinquents, and similarly-aged students. Two commonly held stereotypes of delinquent behavior are that it is either motivated by the quest for material gain or that it is senseless or mindless. Both these views have been criticized by Jones for being based on a telic mode of understanding, the assumption underlying each being that behavior only makes sense if it is serious-minded and has goals. Jones clinical experience with adolescents with a record of delinquency suggests that they do not rationalize their delinquent acts in terms of trying to achieve pre-determined goals, but rather view their actions as ends in themselves. Risk-taking, the chance of being caught and the very sense of being deviant are all arousing activities. In the telic state, such high arousal might be expected to create anxiety, but in the paratelic state it would lead to excitement and thus be antithetical to boredom. © 1988, Elsevier Science & Technology. All rights reserved.
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