Self-evaluation in a naturalistic context: The case of juvenile offenders


Correspondence should be addressed to Michelle Neiss, Department of Behavioral Neuroscience, CR131, Oregon Health & Science University, 3181 S.W. Sam Jackson Park Road, Portland, OR 97239, USA (e-mail:


The authors investigated how self-evaluation motives (self-enhancement, self-assessment, self-verification, self-improvement – and also self-diminishment and no information) shape self-knowledge preferences in male incarcerated juvenile offenders (IJOs). IJOs responded to questions on how much they would like to receive and actually received each of six types of feedback (positive, truthful, improving, consistent, negative and no feedback) from each of six sources (teachers, parents, siblings, best friend, girlfriend and behavioural specialists or psychologists). IJOs disliked negative feedback and the lack of feedback. They preferred truthful feedback to consistent feedback, and received truthful and positive feedback more frequently than improving feedback. Additionally, they received more negative or no feedback from parents than they would like. Finally, IJOs expressed a preference for receiving more improving feedback from their girlfriends than they did. The study highlights the interplay of self-evaluation motives in IJOs and opens up promising research and rehabilitation directions.