Describing associations between child maltreatment frequency and the frequency and timing of subsequent delinquent or criminal behaviors across development: variation by sex, sexual orientation, and race.
BMC public health
2019; 19 (1): 1306
BACKGROUND: Child maltreatment has been linked to lowerhealth, education, and income later in life, and is associated with increased engagement in delinquent or criminal behaviors. This paper explores trajectories of these behaviors from adolescence into early adulthood and tests maltreatment as a predictor, and whether observed patterns are consistent across different demographic groups.METHODS: Using data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health, a longitudinal study of a nationally representative sample of U.S. adolescents (in grades 7-12 in the 1994-95 school year), we ran linear mixed effects models to estimate growth curves of two dependent variables: violent and nonviolent offending behavior. We tested if maltreatment altered the intercept or slope of the curves and how the curves of these behaviors and the associations between them and maltreatment varied by sex, race/ethnicity, and sexual orientation.RESULTS: The sample (n=10,613) had equal proportions males and females, approximately one third identified as a race/ethnicity other than white, and over 10% were non-heterosexual. Experiences of maltreatment were highest for Native Americans and lowest for whites. Models indicated that males were more likely than females to engage in both violent and nonviolent offending and respondents who identified as non-heterosexual were more likely than their heterosexual peers to engage in nonviolent offending behavior. When maltreatment was included in models as a predictor, adolescents who experienced maltreatment had a more rapid increase in their non-violent offending behavior. For violent offending behavior, adolescents who experienced maltreatment had higher levels of offending and the levels progressively increased as maltreatment frequency did. Sex was a moderator; the relationship between maltreatment and predicted nonviolent offending wasstronger for males than it was for females. Race/ethnicity and sexual orientation did not moderate the associations between maltreatment and offending behavior.CONCLUSIONS: This study provides insights from a nationally representative sample into the pattern of both delinquent and criminal behaviors in adolescence and young adulthood, describing not only how the pattern varies over time, but also by sociodemographics and offending type. Additionally, it highlights how the association between maltreatment and these behaviors varies by both offending type and sex.
View details for DOI 10.1186/s12889-019-7655-7
View details for PubMedID 31711444
Disrupting the link between maltreatment and delinquency: how school, family, and community factors can be protective.
BMC public health
2019; 19 (1): 588
BACKGROUND: Past experiences of childhood maltreatment are common for youth involved in the juvenile justice system. This paper explores potential protective factors at the peer, family, school, and neighborhood levels that disrupt the relationship between maltreatment and later non-violent and violent offending behavior and how these protective effects vary by a number of different sociodemographics.METHODS: We used data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (Add Health), a nationally representative longitudinal study of adolescents who were in grades 7-12 in the 1994-95 school year. Pulling data from Add Health respondents from ages 13 to 30, we used linear mixed effects modeling to create growth curves of predicted violent and non-violent offending frequency from adolescence into young adulthood, with maltreatment frequency as a predictor. Next, we tested whether potential protective factors including time with friends, a high-quality relationship with a parent figure, school connection, or neighborhood collective efficacy moderated the intercept or slope of the growth curves. Finally, we tested if sex, race/ethnicity, or sexual orientation moderated these protective effects.RESULTS: For violent offending, school connection, high-quality relationships with mother or father figures, and neighborhood collective efficacy were all generally protective, meaning they were associated with lower levels and shallower slopes of predicted violent offending, but they were not more or less protective for those who experienced maltreatment. For non-violent offending, the same was true of school connection, high-quality relationships with a mother figure, and neighborhood collective efficacy, which were all generally protective. We found no evidence of a protective effect for time spent with friends, though this is likely due to measurement constraints, as simply measuring time spent with friends may have heterogeneous effects on delinquent behaviors. We found no evidence that any of these protective effects varied by sociodemographics.CONCLUSIONS: This paper identifies factors that teachers, juvenile corrections officers, policymakers and others can intervene on to prevent engagement (or re-engagement) in delinquency and offending among youth and young adults who experienced maltreatment. As they are also protective for youth who have not experienced maltreatment they also inform general delinquency prevention efforts.
View details for DOI 10.1186/s12889-019-6906-y
View details for PubMedID 31101102