Discipline: Social Science
The involvement of adolescents in delinquent behaviors in Malaysia is not a new phenomenon. Although many studies have been conducted to study this issue in the West, there has been little attention given to that in Malaysia. Adolescents’ perceptions, feelings, and beliefs need to be understood and given serious consideration. This qualitative phenomenological research is aimed to understand the life experiences of seven teenage girls who were involved in delinquent behaviors. Seven adolescents who were placed at one rehabilitation school in Malaysia participated in the study. Expressive art activities in group counseling were conducted to allow them sharing their life experience. Triangulation from a variety of sources, i.e., open ended interview, which consists of three series, observation, and analysis of documents were used to gather the data. Overall, the results indicated that family dynamics is a crucial element that contributes to delinquency problems. Several themes related to family dynamics that contribute to delinquent acts among adolescents are parents and siblings involve in crime, close relatives involve in crime, poverties and difficulties in life, lack of parental care, divorce, turmoil and domestic violence, polygamy, and family moral support. Implications of the findings for practitioners are also discussed.