3

The Development of Delinquency

Research over the past few decades on normal child development and on development of delinquent behavior has shown that individual, social, and community conditions as well as their interactions influence behavior. There is general agreement that behavior, including antisocial and delinquent behavior, is the result of a complex interplay of individual biological and genetic factors and environmental factors, starting during fetal development and continuing throughout life (Bock and Goode, 1996). Clearly, genes affect biological development, but there is no biological development without environmental input. Thus, both biology and environment influence behavior.

Many children reach adulthood without involvement in serious delinquent behavior, even in the face of multiple risks. Although risk factors may help identify which children are most in need of preventive interventions, they cannot identify which particular children will become serious or chronic offenders. It has long been known that most adult criminals were involved in delinquent behavior as children and adolescents; most delinquent children and adolescents, however, do not grow up to be adult criminals (Robins, 1978). Similarly, most serious, chronically delinquent children and adolescents experience a number of risk factors at various levels, but most children and adolescents with risk factors do not become serious, chronic delinquents. Furthermore, any individual factor contributes only a small part to the increase in risk. It is, however, widely recognized that the more risk factors a child or adolescent experiences, the higher their risk for delinquent behavior.



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JUVENILE CRIME 3 The Development of Delinquency Research over the past few decades on normal child development and on development of delinquent behavior has shown that individual, social, and community conditions as well as their interactions influence behavior. There is general agreement that behavior, including antisocial and delinquent behavior, is the result of a complex interplay of individual biological and genetic factors and environmental factors, starting during fetal development and continuing throughout life (Bock and Goode, 1996). Clearly, genes affect biological development, but there is no biological development without environmental input. Thus, both biology and environment influence behavior. Many children reach adulthood without involvement in serious delinquent behavior, even in the face of multiple risks. Although risk factors may help identify which children are most in need of preventive interventions, they cannot identify which particular children will become serious or chronic offenders. It has long been known that most adult criminals were involved in delinquent behavior as children and adolescents; most delinquent children and adolescents, however, do not grow up to be adult criminals (Robins, 1978). Similarly, most serious, chronically delinquent children and adolescents experience a number of risk factors at various levels, but most children and adolescents with risk factors do not become serious, chronic delinquents. Furthermore, any individual factor contributes only a small part to the increase in risk. It is, however, widely recognized that the more risk factors a child or adolescent experiences, the higher their risk for delinquent behavior.

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JUVENILE CRIME A difficulty with the literature on risk factors is the diversity of the outcome behaviors studied. Some studies focus on behavior that meets diagnostic criteria for conduct disorder or other antisocial behavior disorders; others look at aggressive behavior, or lying, or shoplifting; still others rely on juvenile court referral or arrest as the outcome of interest. Furthermore, different risk factors and different outcomes may be more salient at some stages of child and adolescent development than at others. Much of the literature that has examined risk factors for delinquency is based on longitudinal studies, primarily of white males. Some of the samples were specifically chosen from high-risk environments. Care must be taken in generalizing this literature to girls and minorities and to general populations. Nevertheless, over the past 20 years, much has been learned about risks for antisocial and delinquent behavior. This chapter is not meant to be a comprehensive overview of all the literature on risk factors. Rather it focuses on factors that are most relevant to prevention efforts. (For reviews of risk factor literature, see, for example, Hawkins et al., 1998; Lipsey and Derzon, 1998; Rutter et al., 1998.) The chapter discusses risk factors for offending, beginning with risks at the individual level, including biological, psychological, behavioral, and cognitive factors. Social-level risk factors are discussed next; these include family and peer relationships. Finally, community-level risk factors, including school and neighborhood attributes, are examined. Although individual, social, and community-level factors interact, each level is discussed separately for clarity. INDIVIDUAL-LEVEL RISK FACTORS A large number of individual factors and characteristics has been associated with the development of juvenile delinquency. These individual factors include age, gender, complications during pregnancy and delivery, impulsivity, aggressiveness, and substance use. Some factors operate before birth (prenatal) or close to, during, and shortly after birth (perinatal); some can be identified in early childhood; and other factors may not be evident until late childhood or during adolescence. To fully appreciate the development of these individual characteristics and their relations to delinquency, one needs to study the development of the individual in interaction with the environment. In order to simplify presentation of the research, however, this section deals only with individual factors. Age Studies of criminal activity by age consistently find that rates of offending begin to rise in preadolescence or early adolescence, reach a peak in

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JUVENILE CRIME late adolescence, and fall through young adulthood (see, e.g., Farrington, 1986a; National Research Council, 1986). Some lawbreaking experience at some time during adolescence is nearly universal in American children, although much of this behavior is reasonably mild and temporary. Although the exact age of onset, peak, and age of desistance varies by offense, the general pattern has been remarkably consistent over time, in different countries, and for official and self-reported data. For example, Farrington (1983, 1986a), in a longitudinal study of a sample of boys in London (the Cambridge Longitudinal Study), found an eightfold increase in the number of different boys convicted of delinquent behavior from age 10 to age 17, followed by a decrease to a quarter of the maximum level by age 24. The number of self-reported offenses in the same sample also peaked between ages 15 and 18, then dropped sharply by age 24. In a longitudinal study of boys in inner-city Pittsburgh (just over half the sample was black and just under half was white), the percentage of boys who self-reported serious delinquent behavior rose from 5 percent at age 6 to about 18 percent for whites and 27 percent for blacks at age 16 (Loeber et al., 1998). A longitudinal study of a representative sample from high-risk neighborhoods in Denver also found a growth in the self-reported prevalence of serious violence from age 10 through late adolescence (Kelley et al., 1997). Females in the Denver sample exhibited a peak in serious violence in midadolescence, but prevalence continued to increase through age 19 for the boys. The study is continuing to follow these boys to see if their prevalence drops in early adulthood. Laub et al. (1998), using the Gluecks' data on 500 juvenile offenders from the 1940s, found that only 25 percent of them were still offending by age 32. Much research has concentrated on the onset of delinquency, examining risk factors for onset, and differences between those who begin offending early (prior to adolescence) versus those who begin offending in midadolescence. There have been suggestions that early-onset delinquents are more likely than later-onset delinquents to be more serious and persistent offenders (e.g., Moffitt, 1993). There is evidence, however, that predictors associated with onset do not predict persistence particularly well (Farrington and Hawkins, 1991). There are also important problems with the choice of statistical models to create categories of developmental trajectories (Nagin and Tremblay, 1999). Research by Nagin and Tremblay (1999) found no evidence of late-onset physical aggression. Physical aggression was highest at age 6 (the earliest age for which data were collected for this study) and declined into adolescence. The available data on very young children indicates that frequency of physical aggression reaches a peak around age 2 and then slowly declines up to adolescence (Restoin et al., 1985; Tremblay et al., 1996a).

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JUVENILE CRIME Those who persist in offending into adulthood may differ from those who desist in a number of ways, including attachment to school, military service (Elder, 1986; Sampson and Laub, 1996), sex, age of onset of offending, incarceration, and adult social bonds (e.g., marriage, quality of marriage, job stability) (Farrington and West, 1995; Quinton et al., 1993; Quinton and Rutter, 1988; Sampson and Laub, 1990). Sampson and Laub (1993) found that marital attachment and job stability significantly reduced deviant behavior in adulthood. Farrington and West (1995) found that offenders and nonoffenders were equally likely to get married, but those who got married and lived with their spouse decreased their offending more than those who remained single or who did not live with their spouse. They also found that offending increased after separation from a spouse. Similarly, Horney et al. (1995) found that married male offenders decreased their offending when living with their spouses and resumed it when not living with them. Within marriages, only good marriages predicted reduction in crime, and these had an increasing effect over time (Laub et al., 1998). Warr (1998) also found that offending decreased after marriage but attributed the decrease to a reduction in the time spent with peers and a reduction in the number of deviant peers following marriage rather than to increased attachment to conventional society through marriage. Laub et al. (1998) found no difference between persisters and desisters in most family characteristics during childhood (e.g., poverty, parental alcohol abuse or crime, discipline, supervision) or in most individual differences in childhood (e.g., aggression, tantrums, difficult child, verbal IQ). Brannigan (1997) points out that crime is highest when males have the fewest resources, and it lasts longest in those with the fewest investments in society (job, wife, children). Crime is not an effective strategy for getting resources. There is evidence that chronic offenders gain fewer resources than nonoffenders, after the adolescent period (Moffitt, 1993). The evidence for desistance in girls is not clear. One review of the literature suggests that 25 to 50 percent of antisocial girls commit crimes as adults (Pajer, 1998). There is also some evidence that women are less likely to be recidivists, and that they end their criminal careers earlier than men (Kelley et al., 1997). However, the sexes appear to become more similar with time in rates of all but violent crimes. There is a suggestion that women who persist in crime past adolescence may be more disturbed than men who persist (Jordan et al., 1996; Pajer, 1998). Prenatal and Perinatal Factors Several studies have found an association between prenatal and perinatal complications and later delinquent or criminal behavior (Kandel et

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JUVENILE CRIME al., 1989; Kandel and Mednick, 1991; Raine et al., 1994). Prenatal and perinatal risk factors represent a host of latent and manifest conditions that influence subsequent development. Many studies use the terms “prenatal or perinatal complications” to describe what is a very heterogeneous set of latent and clinical conditions. Under the heading of prenatal factors, one finds a broad variety of conditions that occurs before birth through the seventh month of gestation (Kopp and Krakow, 1983). Similarly, perinatal factors include conditions as varied as apnea of prematurity (poor breathing) to severe respiratory distress syndrome. The former condition is relatively benign, while the latter is often life-threatening. Although they are risk factors, low birthweight and premature birth do not necessarily presage problems in development. Prenatal and perinatal risk factors may compromise the nervous system, creating vulnerabilities in the child that can lead to abnormal behavior. Children with prenatal and perinatal complications who live in impoverished, deviant, or abusive environments face added difficulties. According to three major large-scale, long-term studies: (1) developmental risks have additive negative effects on child outcomes, (2) most infants with perinatal complications develop into normally functioning children, and (3) children with long-term negative outcomes who suffered perinatal complications more often than not came from socially disadvantaged backgrounds (Brennan and Mednick, 1997; Broman et al., 1975; Drillien et al., 1980; Werner et al., 1971). Mednick and colleagues (Brennan and Mednick, 1997; Kandel and Mednick, 1991; Raine et al., 1994) have conducted several investigations in an attempt to elucidate the relationship between criminal behavior and perinatal risk. These and other studies have been unable to identify specific mechanisms to account for the fact that the number of prenatal and perinatal abnormalities tend to correlate with the probability that a child will become a criminal. In addition to the lack of specificity regarding the predictors and the mechanisms of risk, similar measures predict learning disabilities, mental retardation, minimal brain dysfunction, and others (Towbin, 1978). An association between perinatal risk factors and violent offending is particularly strong among offenders whose parents are mentally ill or very poor (Raine et al., 1994, 1997). Most measures indicate that males are more likely to commit crimes. They are also more vulnerable to prenatal and perinatal stress, as is shown through studies of negative outcomes, including death (Davis and Emory, 1995; Emory et al., 1996). Hyperactivity, attention problems, and impulsiveness in children have been found to be associated with delinquency. These behaviors can be assessed very early in life and are associated with certain prenatal and perinatal histories (DiPietro et al., 1996; Emory and Noonan, 1984; Lester

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JUVENILE CRIME et al., 1976; Sameroff and Chandler, 1975). For example, exposure to environmental toxins, such as prenatal lead exposure at very low levels, tends to adversely affect neonatal motor and attentional performance (Emory et al., 1999). Hyperactivity and aggression are associated with prenatal alcohol exposure (Brown et al., 1991; Institute of Medicine, 1996). Prenatal exposure to alcohol, cocaine, heroin, and nicotine appear to have similar effects. Each tends to be associated with hyperactivity, attention deficit, and impulsiveness (Karr-Morse and Wiley, 1997). Individual Capabilities, Competencies, and Characteristics In recent investigations, observable behaviors, such as duration of attention to a toy and compliance with mother's instructions not to touch an object, that are particularly relevant to later misbehavior are observable in the first year of life (Kochanska et al., 1998). However, the ability to predict behavior at later ages (in adolescence and adulthood) from such traits early in life is not yet known. Aggressive behavior is nevertheless one of the more stable dimensions, and significant stability may be seen from toddlerhood to adulthood (Tremblay, 2000). The social behaviors that developmentalists study during childhood can be divided into two broad categories: prosocial and antisocial. Prosocial behaviors include helping, sharing, and cooperation, while antisocial behaviors include different forms of oppositional and aggressive behavior. The development of empathy, guilt feelings, social cognition, and moral reasoning are generally considered important emotional and cognitive correlates of social development. Impulsivity and hyperactivity have both been associated with later antisocial behavior (Rutter et al., 1998). The social behavior characteristics that best predict delinquent behavior, however, are physical aggression and oppositionality (Lahey et al., 1999; Nagin and Tremblay, 1999). Most children start manifesting these behaviors between the end of the first and second years. The peak level in frequency of physical aggression is generally reached between 24 and 36 months, an age at which the consequences of the aggression are generally relatively minor (Goodenough, 1931; Sand, 1966; Tremblay et al., 1996a, 1999a). By entry into kindergarten, the majority of children have learned to use other means than physical aggression to get what they want and to solve conflicts. Those who have not learned, who are oppositional and show few prosocial behaviors toward peers, are at high risk of being rejected by their peers, of failing in school, and eventually of getting involved in serious delinquency (Farrington and Wikstrom, 1994; Huesmann et al., 1984; Miller and Eisenberg, 1988; Nagin and Tremblay, 1999; Tremblay et al., 1992a, 1994; White et al., 1990).

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JUVENILE CRIME The differentiation of emotions and emotional regulation occurs during the 2-year period, from 12 months to 36 months, when the frequency of physical aggression increases sharply and then decreases almost as sharply (Tremblay, 2000; Tremblay et al., 1996a, 1999a). A number of longitudinal studies have shown that children who are behaviorally inhibited (shy, anxious) are less at risk of juvenile delinquency, while children who tend to be fearless, those who are impulsive, and those who have difficulty delaying gratification are more at risk of delinquent behavior (Blumstein et al., 1984; Ensminger et al., 1983; Kerr et al., 1997; Mischel et al., 1989; Tremblay et al., 1994). A large number of studies report that delinquents have a lower verbal IQ compared with nondelinquents, as well as lower school achievement (Fergusson and Horwood, 1995; Maguin and Loeber, 1996; Moffitt, 1997). Antisocial youth also tend to show cognitive deficits in the areas of executive functions1 (Moffitt et al., 1994; Seguin et al., 1995), perception of social cues, and problem-solving processing patterns (Dodge et al., 1997; Huesmann, 1988). The association between cognitive deficits and delinquency remains after controlling for social class and race (Moffitt, 1990; Lynam et al., 1993). Few studies, however, have assessed cognitive functioning during the preschool years or followed the children into adolescence to understand the long-term link between early cognitive deficits and juvenile delinquency. The studies that did look at children 's early cognitive development have shown that poor language performance by the second year after birth, poor fine motor skills by the third year, and low IQ by kindergarten were all associated with later antisocial behavior (Kopp and Krakow, 1983; Stattin and Klackenberg-Larsson, 1993; White et al., 1990). Stattin and Klackenberg-Larsson (1993) found that the association between poor early language performance and later criminal behavior remained significant even after controlling for socioeconomic status. Epidemiological studies have found a correlation between language delay and aggressive behavior (Richman et al., 1982). Language delays may contribute to poor peer relations that, in turn, result in aggression (Campbell, 1990a). The long-term impact of cognitively oriented preschool programs on the reduction of antisocial behavior is a more direct indication that fostering early cognitive development can play an important role in the prevention of juvenile delinquency (Schweinhart et al., 1993; Schweinhart and Weikart, 1997). It is important to note that since poor cognitive abilities and problem behaviors in the preschool years also 1   Executive functions refer to a variety of independent skills that are necessary for purposeful, goal-directed activity. Executive functions require generating and maintaining appropriate mental representations, monitoring the flow of information, and modifying problem-solving strategies in order to keep behavior directed toward the goal.

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JUVENILE CRIME lead to poor school performance, they probably explain a large part of the association observed during adolescence between school failure and delinquency (Fergusson and Horwood, 1995; Maguin and Loeber, 1996; Tremblay et al., 1992). Several mental health disorders of childhood have been found to put children at risk for future delinquent behavior. Conduct disorder is often diagnosed when a child is troublesome and breaking rules or norms but not necessarily doing illegal behavior, especially at younger ages. This behavior may include lying, bullying, cruelty to animals, fighting, and truancy. Most adolescents in U.S. society at some time engage in illegal behaviors, whether some kind of theft, aggression, or status offense. Many adolescents, in the period during which they engage in these behaviors, are likely to meet formal criteria for conduct disorder. Behavior characterized by willful disobedience and defiance is considered a different disorder (oppositional defiant disorder), but often occurs in conjunction with conduct disorder and may precede it. Several prospective longitudinal studies have found that children with attention and hyperactivity problems, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, show high levels of antisocial and aggressive behavior (Campbell, 1990b; Hechtman et al., 1984; Loney et al., 1982; Sanson et al., 1993; Satterfield et al., 1982). Early hyperactivity and attention problems without concurrent aggression, however, appear not to be related to later aggressive behavior (Loeber, 1988; Magnusson and Bergman, 1990; Nagin and Tremblay, 1999), although a few studies do report such relationships (Gittelman et al., 1985; Mannuzza et al., 1993, 1991). Another disorder that is often associated with antisocial behavior and conduct disorder is major depressive disorder, particularly in girls (Kovacs, 1996; Offord et al., 1986; Renouf and Harter, 1990). It is hypothesized that depression during adolescence may be “a central pathway through which girls' serious antisocial behavior develops ” (Obeidallah and Earls, 1999:1). In girls, conduct disorder may be a kind of manifestation of the hopelessness, frustration, and low self-esteem that often characterizes major depression. For juveniles as well as adults, the use of drugs and alcohol is common among offenders. In 1998, about half of juvenile arrestees in the Arrestee Drug Abuse Monitoring Program tested positive for at least one drug. In these same cities,2 about two-thirds of adult arrestees tested 2   This program collects information on both juvenile and adult arrestees in Birmingham, Alabama; Cleveland, Ohio; Denver, Colorado; Indianapolis, Indiana; Los Angeles, California; Phoenix, Arizona; Portland, Oregon; St. Louis, Missouri; San Antonio, Texas; San Diego, California; San Jose, California; Tuscon, Arizona; and Washington, DC. Data on adults are collected in 35 cities altogether.

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JUVENILE CRIME positive for at least one drug (National Institute of Justice, 1999). Of course, drug use is a criminal offense on its own, and for juveniles, alcohol use is also a status delinquent offense. A number of studies have consistently found that as the seriousness of offending goes up, so does the seriousness of drug use as measured both by frequency of use and type of drug (see Huizinga and Jakob-Chien, 1998). In the longitudinal studies of causes and correlates of delinquency in Denver, Pittsburgh, and Rochester (see Thornberry et al., 1995), serious offenders had a higher prevalence of drug and alcohol use than did minor offenders or nonoffenders. In addition, about three-quarters of drug users in each sample were also involved in serious delinquency (Huizinga and Jakob-Chien, 1998). Similarly, in the Denver Youth Survey, serious offenders had the highest prevalence and frequency of use of alcohol and marijuana of all youth in the study. Nevertheless, only about one-third of serious delinquents were problem drug users (Huizinga and Jakob-Chien, 1998). Although there appears to be a relationship between alcohol and drug use and criminal delinquency, not all delinquents use alcohol or drugs, nor do all alcohol and drug users commit delinquent acts (other than the alcohol or drug use itself). Those who are both serious delinquents and serious drug users may be involved in a great deal of crime, however. Johnson et al. (1991) found that the small group (less than 5 percent of a national sample) who were both serious delinquents and serious drug users accounted for over half of all serious crimes. Neverthless, it would be premature to conclude that serious drug use causes serious crime (McCord, 2001). Whatever characteristics individuals have, resulting personalities and behavior are influenced by the social environments in which they are raised. Characteristics of individuals always develop in social contexts. SOCIAL FACTORS Children's and adolescents' interactions and relationships with family and peers influence the development of antisocial behavior and delinquency. Family interactions are most important during early childhood, but they can have long-lasting effects. In early adolescence, relationships with peers take on greater importance. This section will first consider factors within the family that have been found to be associated with the development of delinquency and then consider peer influences on delinquent behavior. Note that issues concerning poverty and race are dealt with under the community factors section of this chapter. Chapter 7 deals specifically with issues concerning race. 2   This program collects information on both juvenile and adult arrestees in Birmingham, Alabama; Cleveland, Ohio; Denver, Colorado; Indianapolis, Indiana; Los Angeles, California; Phoenix, Arizona; Portland, Oregon; St. Louis, Missouri; San Antonio, Texas; San Diego, California; San Jose, California; Tuscon, Arizona; and Washington, DC. Data on adults are collected in 35 cities altogether.

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JUVENILE CRIME Family Influences In assigning responsibility for childrearing to parents, most Western cultures place a heavy charge on families. Such cultures assign parents the task of raising children to follow society's rules for acceptable behavior. It should be no surprise, therefore, when families have difficulties with the task laid on them, that the product often is juvenile delinquency (Kazdin, 1997). Family structure (who lives in a household) and family functioning (how the family members treat one another) are two general categories under which family effects on delinquency have been examined. Family Structure Before embarking on a review of the effects of family structure, it is important to raise the question of mechanisms (Rutter et al., 1998). It may not be the family structure itself that increases the risk of delinquency, but rather some other factor that explains why that structure is present. Alternatively, a certain family structure may increase the risk of delinquency, but only as one more stressor in a series; it may be the number rather than specific nature of the stressors that is harmful. Historically, one aspect of family structure that has received a great deal of attention as a risk factor for delinquency is growing up in a family that has experienced separation or divorce.3 Although many studies have found an association between broken homes and delinquency (Farrington and Loeber, 1999; Rutter and Giller, 1983; Wells and Rankin, 1991; Wilson and Herrnstein, 1985), there is considerable debate about the meaning of the association. For example, longitudinal studies have found an increased level of conduct disorder and behavioral disturbance in children of divorcing parents before the divorce took place (Block et al., 1986; Cherlin et al., 1991). Capaldi and Patterson (1991) showed that disruptive parenting practices and antisocial personality of the parent(s) accounted for apparent effects of divorce and remarriage. Thus, it is likely that the increased risk of delinquency experienced among children of broken homes is related to the family conflict prior to the divorce or separation, rather than to family breakup itself (Rutter et al., 1998). In their longitudinal study of family disruption, Juby and Farrington (2001) found that boys who stayed with their mothers following disruption had delinquency rates that were almost identical to those reared in intact families. 3   Many discussions of family structure treat single-parent households and divorced families as the same. In this section, the literature on single-parents is reported separately from that on separated and divorced families because there may be considerable differences in the experiences of children born to single parents and those whose parents divorce.

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JUVENILE CRIME Being born and raised in a single-parent family has also been associated with increased risk of delinquency and antisocial behavior. Research that takes into account the socioeconomic conditions of single-parent households and other risks, including disciplinary styles and problems in supervising and monitoring children, show that these other factors account for the differential outcomes in these families. The important role of socioeconomic conditions is shown by the absence of differences in delinquency between children in single-parent and two-parent homes within homogeneous socioeconomic classes (Austin, 1978). Careful analyses of juvenile court cases in the United States shows that economic conditions rather than family composition influenced children 's delinquency (Chilton and Markle, 1972). Statistical controls for the mothers' age and poverty have been found to remove effects attributed to single-parent families (Crockett et al., 1993). Furthermore, the significance of being born to a single mother has changed dramatically over the past 30 years. In 1970, 10.7 percent of all births in the United States were to unmarried women (U.S. Census Bureau, 1977). By 1997, births to unmarried women accounted for 32.4 percent of U.S. births (U.S. Census Bureau, 1999). As Rutter and colleagues (1998:185) noted about similar statistics in the United Kingdom: “It cannot be assumed that the risks for antisocial behavior (from being born to a single parent) evident in studies of children born several decades ago will apply to the present generation of births. ” Recent work seems to bear out this conclusion. Gorman-Smith and colleagues found no association between single parenthood and delinquency in a poor, urban U.S. community (Gorman-Smith et al., 1999). Nevertheless, children in single-parent families are more likely to be exposed to other criminogenic influences, such as frequent changes in the resident father figure (Johnson, 1987; Stern et al., 1984). Single parents often find it hard to get assistance (Ensminger et al., 1983; Spicer and Hampe, 1975). If they must work to support themselves and their families, they are likely to have difficulty providing supervision for their children. Poor supervision is associated with the development of delinquency (Dornbusch et al., 1985; Glueck and Glueck, 1950; Hirschi, 1969; Jensen, 1972; Maccoby, 1958; McCord, 1979, 1982). Summarizing their work on race, family structure, and delinquency in white and black families, Matsueda and Heimer (1987:836) noted: “Yet in both racial groups non-intact homes influence delinquency through a similar process—by attenuating parental supervision, which in turn increases delinquent companions, prodelinquent definitions, and, ultimately, delinquent behavior.” It looks as if the effects of living with a single parent vary with the amount of supervision, as well as the emotional and economic resources that the parent is able to bring to the situation. A number of studies have found that children born to teenage mothers

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JUVENILE CRIME to trace direct pathways from these neighborhood risk factors through child and adolescent development, although some of the larger ongoing studies, such as the Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods, are collecting the kind of comprehensive data on biological and social aspects of individual development as well as on the characteristics of a large number of ecological areas that could make this kind of analysis possible (Tonry et al., 1991). Nonetheless, existing research does indicate a number of ways in which deleterious conditions for individual development are concentrated at the neighborhood level. Furthermore, the neighborhoods in which they are concentrated are the same ones that have concentrations of serious youth crime. The risks involved begin for individuals in these areas before birth and continue into adulthood. They include child health problems, parental stress, child abuse, and exposure to community violence. Neighborhoods with high rates of poverty and crime are often also neighborhoods with concentrations of health problems among children. In New York City, for example, there is a high degree of correlation at the neighborhood level of low birthweight and infant mortality with rates of violent death (Wallace and Wallace, 1990). Moffitt (1997) has pointed to a number of conditions prevalent in inner-city neighborhoods that are capable of inflicting neuropsychological damage, including fetal exposure to toxic chemicals, which are disproportionately stored in such areas, and child malnutrition. Thus, even to the extent that some neighborhoods have larger proportions of persons with clinically identifiable physical and psychological problems, these problems may themselves be due to neighborhood conditions. Thus it can be difficult to disentangle individual developmental risk factors from neighborhood risk factors. Similarly, some parenting practices that contribute to the development of antisocial and criminal behavior are themselves concentrated in certain areas. McLloyd (1990) has reviewed a wide range of studies documenting the high levels of parental stress experienced by low-income black mothers who, as we have already seen, experience an extremely high degree of residential segregation (Massey and Denton, 1993). This parental stress may in turn lead, in some cases, to child abuse, which contributes to subsequent delinquent and criminal behavior (Widom, 1989). Child abuse is also disproportionately concentrated in certain neighborhoods. Korbin and Coulton's studies of the distribution of child maltreatment in Cleveland neighborhoods have shown both higher rates in poorer neighborhoods and a moderating effect of age structure. Using a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods, they showed that neighborhoods with a younger age structure experienced higher rates of child maltreatment, as measured by reported child abuse cases and inter-

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JUVENILE CRIME views in a subset of the neighborhoods, than other neighborhoods with similar average family income levels (Korbin and Coulton, 1997). Recent research has begun to demonstrate high levels of exposure to community violence across a wide range of American communities (Singer et al., 1995), but the degree of exposure also varies by community and reaches extraordinary levels in some neighborhoods. Studies in inner-city neighborhoods have found that one-quarter or more of young people have directly witnessed confrontations involving serious, life-threatening acts of violence, while even larger proportions have witnessed attacks with weapons (Bell and Jenkins, 1993; Osofsky et al., 1993; Richters and Martinez, 1993; Selner-O'Hagan et al., 1998). Various outcomes of this kind of exposure to community violence have been identified. The most commonly cited of these include depressive disorders and posttraumatic stress syndrome, but some links have also been found to increases in aggressive and antisocial behavior (Farrell and Bruce, 1997). Experimental research has shown a pathway from exposure to violence to states of mind conducive to and associated with aggressive behavior, particularly a pattern of social cognition characterized as hostile attribution bias, in which people erroneously perceive others' behavior as threatening (Dodge et al., 1990). Taken together, these studies point to a multitude of physical, psychological, and social stressors concentrated in the same, relatively few, highly disadvantaged neighborhood environments. Besides affecting people individually, these stressors may combine with and amplify one another, as highly stressed individuals encounter each other in crowded streets, apartment buildings, and public facilities, leading to an exponential increase in triggers for violence (Bernard, 1990). Agnew (1999), having demonstrated the effects of general psychological strain on criminal behavior in previous research, has recently reviewed a wide range of studies that point to just such an amplification effect at the community level. Environmental and Situational Influences Other aspects of the environment that have been examined as factors that may influence the risk of offending include drug markets, availability of guns, and the impact of violence in the media. The presence of illegal drug markets increases the likelihood for violence at the points where drugs are exchanged for money (Haller, 1989). The rise in violent juvenile crime during the 1980s has been attributed to the increase in drug markets, particularly open-air markets for crack cocaine (Blumstein, 1995; National Research Council, 1993). Blumstein (1995) points out the coincidence in timing of the rise in drug arrests of

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JUVENILE CRIME nonwhite juveniles, particularly blacks, beginning in 1985, and the rise in juvenile, gun-related homicide rates, particularly among blacks. As mentioned earlier, Blumstein argues that the introduction of open-air crack cocaine markets in about 1985 may explain both trends. The low price of crack brought many low-income people, who could afford to buy only one hit at a time, into the cocaine market. These factors led to an increase in the number of drug transactions and a need for more sellers. Juveniles provided a ready labor force and were recruited into crack markets. Blumstein (1995:30) explains how this led to an increase in handgun carrying by juveniles: These juveniles, like many other participants in the illicit-drug industry, are likely to carry guns for self-protection, largely because that industry uses guns as an important instrument for dispute resolution. Also, the participants in the industry are likely to be carrying a considerable amount of valuable product—drugs or money derived from selling drugs—and are not likely to be able to call on the police if someone tries to rob them. Thus, they are forced to provide for their own defense; a gun is a natural instrument. Since the drug markets are pervasive in many inner-city neighborhoods, and the young people recruited into them are fairly tightly networked with other young people in their neighborhoods, it became easy for the guns to be diffused to other teenagers who go to the same school or who walk the same streets. These other young people are also likely to arm themselves, primarily for their own protection, but also because possession of a weapon may become a means of status-seeking in the community. This initiates an escalating process: as more guns appear in the community, the incentive for any single individual to arm himself increases. Other researchers concur that juveniles responded to the increased threat of violence in their neighborhoods by arming themselves or joining gangs for self-protection and adopting a more aggressive interpersonal style (Anderson, 1990, 1994; Fagan and Wilkinson, 1998; Hemenway et al., 1996; Wilkinson and Fagan, 1996). The number of juveniles who report carrying guns has increased. In 1990, approximately 6 percent of teenage boys reported carrying a firearm in the 30 days preceding the survey (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1991). By 1993, 13.7 percent reported carrying guns (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1995). Hemenway et al. (1996) surveyed a sample of 7th and 10th graders in schools in high-risk neighborhoods in a Northeastern and a Midwestern city. Of these, 29 percent of 10th grade males and 23 percent of 7th grade males reported having carried a concealed gun, as did 12 percent of 10th grade females and 8 percent of 7th grade females. The overwhelm-

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JUVENILE CRIME ing majority gave self-defense or protection as their primary reason for carrying weapons. Moreover, juveniles who reported living in a neighborhood with a lot of shootings or having a family member who had been shot were significantly more likely to carry a gun than other students. Additional student surveys also have found that protection is the most common reason given for carrying a gun (e.g., Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1993; Sheley and Wright, 1998). By studying trends in homicide rates, several researchers have concluded that the increase in juvenile homicides during the late 1980s and early 1990s resulted from the increase in the availability of guns, in particular handguns, rather than from an increase in violent propensities of youth (Blumstein and Cork, 1996; Cook and Laub, 1998; Zimring, 1996). Certainly, assaults in which guns are involved are more likely to turn deadly than when other weapons or just fists are involved. The increase in gun use occurred for all types of youth homicides (e.g., family killings, gang-related killings, brawls and arguments). Furthermore, the rates of nonhandgun homicides remained stable; only handgun-related homicides increased. Public concern about the role of media in producing misbehavior is as old as concern regarding the socialization of children. Although few believe that the media operate in isolation to influence crime, scientific studies show that children may imitate behavior, whether it is shown in pictures of real people or in cartoons or merely described in stories (Bandura, 1962, 1965, 1986; Maccoby, 1964, 1980). Prosocial as well as aggressive antisocial behavior has been inspired through the use of examples (Anderson, 1998; Eisenberg and Mussen, 1989; Eron and Huesmann, 1986; Huston and Wright, 1998; Staub, 1979). Thus media models can be seen as potentially influencing either risk or protectiveness of environments. In addition to modeling behavior, exposure to media violence has been shown to increase fear of victimization and to desensitize witnesses to effects of violence (Slaby, 1997; Wilson et al., 1998). Children seem particularly susceptible to such effects, although not all children are equally susceptible. Violent video games, movies, and music lyrics have also been criticized as inciting violence among young people. Cooper and Mackie (1986) found that after playing a violent video game, 4th and 5th graders exhibited more aggression in play than did their classmates who had been randomly assigned to play with a nonviolent video game or to no video game. Anderson and Dill (2000) randomly assigned college students to play either a violent or a nonviolent video game that had been matched for interest, frustration, and difficulty. Students played the same game three times, for a total of 45 minutes, after which they played a competitive game that involved using unpleasant sound blasts against

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JUVENILE CRIME the rival player. After the second time, measures of the accessibility of aggressive concepts showed a cognitive effect of playing violent video games. After the third time, those who had played the violent video game gave longer blasts of the unpleasant sound, a result mediated by accessibility of aggression as a cognitive factor. The authors concluded that violent video games have adverse behavioral effects and that these occur through increasing the aggressive outlooks of participants. None of these studies, however, finds direct connections between media exposure to violence and subsequent serious violent behavior. Steinberg (2000:37) summarized the literature on media and juvenile violence by noting: “exposure to violence in the media plays a significant, but very small, role in adolescents' actual involvement in violent activity. The images young people are exposed to may provide the material for violent fantasies and may, under rare circumstances, give young people concrete ideas about how to act out these impulses. But the violent impulses themselves, and the motivation to follow through on them, rarely come from watching violent films or violent television or from listening to violent music . . . . I know of no research that links the sort of serious violence this working group is concerned about with exposure to violent entertainment.” THE DEVELOPMENT OF DELINQUENCY IN GIRLS Research on the development of conduct disorder, aggression, and delinquency has often been confined to studies of boys. Many of the individual factors found to be related to delinquency have not been well studied in girls. For example, impulsivity, which has been linked to the development of conduct problems in boys (Caspi et al., 1994; White et al., 1994), has scarcely been studied in girls (Keenan et al., in press). Behavioral differences between boys and girls have been documented from infancy. Weinberg and Tronick (1997) report that infant girls exhibit better emotional regulation than infant boys, and that infant boys are more likely to show anger than infant girls. This may have implications for the development of conduct problems and delinquency. Although peer-directed aggressive behavior appears to be similar in both girls and boys during toddlerhood (Loeber and Hay, 1997), between the ages of 3 and 6, boys begin to display higher rates of physical aggression than do girls (Coie and Dodge, 1998). Girls tend to use verbal and indirect aggression, such as peer exclusion, ostracism, and character defamation (Bjorkqvist et al., 1992; Crick and Grotpeter, 1995), rather than physical aggression. Research by Pepler and Craig (1995), however, found that girls do use physical aggression against peers, but tend to hide it from adults. Through remote audiovisual recordings of children on a play-

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JUVENILE CRIME ground, they found the rates of bullying by girls and boys to be the same, although girls were less likely than boys to admit to the behavior in interviews. Internalizing disorders, such as anxiety and depression, are more frequent in girls and may well overlap with their conduct problems (Loeber and Keenan, 1994; McCord and Ensminger, 1997). Theoreticians have suggested that adolescent females may direct rage and hurt inward as a reaction to abuse and maltreatment. These inward-directed feelings may manifest themselves in conduct problems, such as drug abuse, prostitution, and other self-destructive behaviors (Belknap, 1996). Whether or not the rate of conduct problems and conduct disorder in girls is lower than that in boys remains to be definitively proven. Girls who do exhibit aggressive behavior or conduct disorder exhibit as much stability in that behavior and are as much at risk for later problems as are boys. Tremblay et al. (1992) found equally high correlations between aggression in early elementary school and later delinquency in boys and girls. Boys and girls with conduct disorder are also equally likely to qualify for later antisocial personality disorder (Zoccolillo et al., 1992). Delinquency in girls, as well as boys, is often preceded by some form of childhood victimization (Maxfield and Widom, 1996; Smith and Thornberry, 1995; Widom, 1989). Some have speculated that one of the first steps in female delinquency is status offending (truancy, running away from home, being incorrigible), frequently in response to abusive situations in the home (Chesney-Lind and Shelden, 1998). Indeed, Chesney-Lind (1997) has written that status offenses, including running away, may play an important role in female delinquency. In what she refers to as the “criminalization of girls' survival strategies,” Chesney-Lind (1989:11) suggests that young females run away from the violence and abuse in their homes and become vulnerable to further involvement in crime as a means of survival. In one community-based longitudinal study, however, a larger proportion of boys than of girls had left home prior to their sixteenth birthday (McCord and Ensminger, 1997). In a long-term follow-up of a sample of documented cases of childhood abuse and neglect, Kaufman and Widom (1999) reported preliminary results indicating that males and females are equally likely to run away from home, and that childhood sexual abuse was not more often associated with running away than other forms of abuse or neglect. However, the motivation for running away may differ for males and females. For example, females may be running away to escape physical or sexual abuse or neglect in their homes. For boys, running away may be an indirect consequence of childhood victimization or may be part of a larger constellation of antisocial and problem behaviors (Luntz and Widom, 1994).

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JUVENILE CRIME From the small amount of research that has been done on girls, it appears that they share many risk factors for delinquency with boys. These risk factors include early drug use (Covington, 1998), association with delinquent peers (Acoca and Dedel, 1998), and problems in school (Bergsmann, 1994). McCord and Ensminger (1997) found, however, that, on average, girls were exposed to fewer risk factors (e.g., aggressiveness, frequent spanking, low I.Q., first-grade truancy, early leaving home, and racial discrimination) than were boys. Delinquent girls report experiencing serious mental health problems, including depression and anxiety, and suicidal thoughts. In a study of delinquent girls conducted by Bergsmann (1994), fully half said that they had considered suicide, and some 64 percent of these had thought about it more than once. In a survey of mental disorders in juvenile justice facilities, Timmons-Mitchell and colleagues (1997) compared the prevalence of disorders among a sample of males and females and found that the estimated prevalence of mental disorders among females was over three times that among males (84 versus 27 percent). The females in the sample scored significantly higher than males on scales of the Milton Adolescent Clinical Inventory, which measure suicidal tendency, substance abuse proneness, impulsivity, family dysfunction, childhood abuse, and delinquent predisposition. Timmons-Mitchell et al. (1997) concluded from these data that incarcerated female juveniles had significantly more mental health problems and treatment needs than their male counterparts. Teen motherhood and pregnancy are also concerns among female juvenile offenders. Female delinquents become sexually active at an earlier age than females who are not delinquent (Greene, Peters and Associates, 1998). Sexual activity at an early age sets girls up for a host of problems, including disease and teenage pregnancy, that have far-reaching impacts on their lives and health. Teen mothers face nearly insurmountable challenges that undermine their ability to take adequate care of themselves and their families. Dropping out of school, welfare dependence, and living in poor communities are only a few of the consequences of teen motherhood. And the effects are not limited to one generation. Teen mothers are more likely than women who have children in their early 20s to have children who are incarcerated as adults (Grogger, 1997; Nagin et al., 1997; Robin Hood Foundation, 1996). CONCLUSIONS Although a large proportion of adolescents gets arrested and an even larger proportion commits illegal acts, only a small proportion commits

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JUVENILE CRIME serious crimes. Furthermore, most of those who engage in illegal behavior as adolescents do not become adult criminals. Risk factors at the individual, social, and community level most likely interact in complex ways to promote antisocial and delinquent behavior in juveniles. Although there is some research evidence that different risk factors are more salient at different stages of child and adolescent development, it remains unclear which particular risk factors alone, or in combination, are most important to delinquency. It appears, however, that the more risk factors that are present, the higher the likelihood of delinquency. Particular risk factors considered by the panel are poor parenting practices, school practices that may contribute to school failure, and community-wide settings. Poor parenting practices are important risk factors for delinquency. Several aspects of parenting have been found to be related to delinquency: neglect or the absence of supervision throughout childhood and adolescence; the presence of overt conflict or abuse; discipline that is inconsistent or inappropriate to the behavior; and a lack of emotional warmth in the family. School failure is related to delinquency, and some widely used school practices are associated with school failure in high-risk children. These practices include tracking and grade retention, as well as suspension and expulsion. Minorities are disproportionately affected by these educational and social practices in schools. Both serious crime and developmental risk factors for children and adolescents are highly concentrated in some communities. These communities are characterized by concentrated poverty. Residents of these communities often do not have access to the level of public resources available in the wider society, including good schools, supervised activities, and health services. Individual-level risk factors are also concentrated in these communities, including health problems, parental stress, and exposure to family and community violence. The combination of concentrated poverty and residential segregation suffered by ethnic minorities in some places contributes to high rates of crime. Although risk factors can identify groups of adolescents whose probabilities for committing serious crimes are greater than average, they are not capable of identifying the particular individuals who will become criminals.

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JUVENILE CRIME RECOMMENDATIONS Delinquency is associated with poor school performance, truancy, and leaving school at a young age. Some pedagogical practices may exacerbate these problems. The available research on grade retention and tracking and the disciplinary practices of suspension and expulsion reveal that such policies have more negative than positive effects. For students already experiencing academic difficulty, tracking and grade retention have been found to further impair their academic performance. Furthermore, tracking does not appear to improve the academic performance of students in high tracks compared with similar students in schools that do not use tracking. Suspension and expulsion deny education in the name of discipline, yet these practices have not been shown to be effective in reducing school misbehavior. Little is known about the effects of these policies on other students in the school. Given the fact that the policies disproportionately affect minorities, such policies may unintentionally reinforce negative stereotypes. Recommendation: Federal programs should be developed to promote alternatives to grade retention and tracking in schools. Given that school failure has been found to be a precursor to delinquency, not enough research to date has specifically examined school policies, such as tracking, grade retention, suspension, and expulsion in terms of their effects on delinquent behavior in general. It is important that evaluations of school practices and policies consider their effects on aggressive and antisocial behavior, incuding delinquency. This type of research is particularly salient given the concern over school violence. Research on tracking should examine the effects on children and adolescents in all tracks, not only on those in low tracks. Recommendation: A thorough review of the effects of school policies and pedagogical practices, such as grade retention, tracking, suspension, and expulsion, should be undertaken. This review should include the effects of such policies on delinquency, as well as the effects on educational attainment and school atmosphere and environment. Prenatal exposure to alcohol, cocaine, heroin, and nicotine is associated with hyperactivity, attention deficit, and impulsiveness, which are risk factors for later antisocial behavior and delinquency. Biological insults suffered during the prenatal period may have some devastating effects on development. Consequently, preventive efforts during the pre-

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JUVENILE CRIME natal period, such as preventing fetal exposure to alcohol and drugs, may have great benefits. Reducing alcohol and drug abuse among expectant parents may also improve their ability to parent, thus reducing family-related risk factors for delinquency. Recommendation: Federal, state, and local governments should act to provide treatment for drug abuse (including alcohol and tobacco use) among pregnant women, particularly, adolescents. Most longitudinal studies of delinquent behavior have begun after children enter school. Yet earlier development appears to contribute to problems that become apparent during the early school years. Much remains to be known about the extent to which potential problems can be identified at an early age. Recommendation: Prospective longitudinal studies should be used to increase the understanding of the role of factors in prenatal, perinatal, and early infant development on mechanisms that increase the likelihood of healthy development, as well as the development of antisocial behavior. Research has shown that the greater the number of risk factors that are present, the higher the likelihood of delinquency. It is not clear, however, whether some risk factors or combinations of risk factors are more important than other risk factors or combinations in the development of delinquency. Furthermore, the timing, severity, and duration of risk factors, in interaction with the age, gender, and the environment in which the individual lives undoubtedly affect the behavioral outcomes. A better understanding of how risk factors interact is important for the development of prevention efforts, especially efforts in communities in which risk factors are concentrated. Recommendation: Research on risk factors for delinquency needs to focus on effects of interactions among various risk factors. In particular, research on effects of differences in neighborhoods and their interactions with individual and family conditions should be expanded. The panel recommends the following areas as needing particular research attention to increase understanding of the development of delinquency: Research on the development of language skills and the impact of delayed or poor language skills on the development of aggressive and antisocial behavior, including delinquency;

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JUVENILE CRIME Research on children's and adolescents' access to guns, in particular handguns, and whether that access influences attitudes toward or fear of crime; Research on ways to increase children's and adolescents' protective factors; and Research on the development of physical aggression regulation in early childhood. Research on delinquency has traditionally focused on boys. Although boys are more likely to be arrested than girls, the rate of increase in arrest and incarceration has been much larger in recent years for girls than boys, and the seriousness of the crimes committed by girls has increased. Recommendation: The Department of Justice should develop and fund a systematic research program on female juvenile offending. At a minimum, this program should include: Research on etiology, life course, and societal consequences of female juvenile offending; Research on the role of childhood experiences, neighborhoods and communities, and family and individual characteristics that lead young females into crime; and Research on the role of psychiatric disorders in the etiology of female juvenile crime, as well as its role as a consequence of crime or the justice system's response.