Dr. Jill Sharkey, an assistant researcher at the Center for School Based Youth Development in the Department of Counseling, Clinical, and School Psychology at the Gevirtz School, UC Santa Barbara, has won a highly competitive Society for the Study of School Psychology (SSSP) Early Career Research Award for the project, “Schools, Families, and Juvenile Justice: Systemic Responsiveness and Juvenile Delinquency.” Sharkey and her colleague Dr. Janay B. Sander at the University of Texas-Austin will receive $15,000 to fund their project.
“I am thrilled to be honored with this award and am excited to have this opportunity to continue to develop my research expertise in the area of juvenile delinquency,” Sharkey says about the award. “Dr. Sander and I hope to maintain a research track to examine school and juvenile justice responses to youth involved in criminal behavior, and use what we learn to inform interventions with at-risk youth. I am particularly interested in understanding gender differences in the path to delinquency and how interventions can be tailored to males and females within the school setting.”
Sharkey and Sander will study school experiences, including learning problems and school relationships, family relationships, discipline experienced by the adolescents, and eventual response and consequences imposed by juvenile justice. They will examine quantitative data for the level of aggression at school, involvement with the juvenile probation system, and overall family functioning. The researchers will also conduct interviews with youths, their parents, and teachers and probation officers, primarily asking about viewpoints and experiences related to at-risk youth and different responses to behaviors, emotions, and learning concerns with youths.
The long term goal of their research is to test the model of systemic responsiveness using samples of participants from juvenile probation or corrective facilities and to inform practice in schools and juvenile justice centers with adolescents engaging in delinquent and aggressive behavior. Results of the current proposed project will be used as a preliminary model to inform school discipline policies, to establish the proper level of family involvement or family collaboration with schools to detect and decrease delinquency and youth aggression, and to help shape the practices of juvenile probation departments.
In addition to being a researcher and lecturer at the Gevirtz School, Dr. Sharkey is a nationally certified school psychologist for the Santa Barbara Elementary School District. Dr. Sharkey has had extensive experience at various levels of research, including project management of a state Challenge grant evaluation, participant contact and family interviewer at the Oregon Social Learning Center, and data management at the Oregon Research Institute. She was awarded the Michael Goodman Memorial Research Award and the Paul H. Henkin Scholarship for research related to her doctoral dissertation, which examined the relationship between risk and protective factors and juvenile recidivism for male and female probationers. Dr. Sharkey serves on the editorial board for the California School Psychologist and the Behavioral Disorders Journals. Her scholarly publications and conference presentations have focused on risk assessment, prediction of antisocial behavior, female delinquency, gender and ethnic differences in emotional and behavioral problems, developmental pathways of psychopathology, risk and resilience, school violence, and the efficacy of intervention for antisocial behavior.
[Jill Sharkey is available for interviews; to set up an interview contact George Yatchisin at 805 893 5789.]