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Why do some maltreated youth become juvenile offenders?: A call for further investigation and adaptation of youth services


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  • Bender, Kimberly
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    Experiencing maltreatment is an established risk factor for delinquency. Yet, an understanding of the maltreatment-delinquency link is incomplete as few models have elucidated how maltreated youth become juvenile delinquents. This paper utilizes the latest empirical evidence to propose a diagram detailing pathways from maltreatment to delinquency through potential intervening risk factors, including substance abuse, mental health problems, school difficulties, negative peer networks, and running away from home. Hypothesized gender differences in pathways from maltreatment to delinquency are delineated. Implications for adaptation of child welfare and juvenile justice services to address the link between maltreatment and delinquency are discussed. This paper calls for testing and refining of the proposed pathways from maltreatment to delinquency in order to advance understanding of these complex relationships.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Children and Youth Services Review.

    Volume (Year): 32 (2010)
    Issue (Month): 3 (March)
    Pages: 466-473

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:cysrev:v:32:y:2010:i:3:p:466-473

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    Keywords: Victimization Maltreatment Juvenile delinquency Adolescent mental health Substance use School engagement Gender;


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    1. Turner, Heather A. & Finkelhor, David & Ormrod, Richard, 2006. "The effect of lifetime victimization on the mental health of children and adolescents," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 62(1), pages 13-27, January.
    2. Ryan, Joseph P. & Marshall, Jane Marie & Herz, Denise & Hernandez, Pedro M., 2008. "Juvenile delinquency in child welfare: Investigating group home effects," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(9), pages 1088-1099, September.
    3. Wells, Rebecca, 2006. "Managing child welfare agencies: What do we know about what works?," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 28(10), pages 1181-1194, October.
    4. Ryan, Joseph P. & Herz, Denise & Hernandez, Pedro M. & Marshall, Jane Marie, 2007. "Maltreatment and delinquency: Investigating child welfare bias in juvenile justice processing," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 29(8), pages 1035-1050, August.
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    Cited by:
    1. Dauber, Sarah & Hogue, Aaron, 2011. "Profiles of systems involvement in a sample of high-risk urban adolescents with unmet treatment needs," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 33(10), pages 2018-2026, October.
    2. Farineau, Heather M. & McWey, Lenore M., 2011. "The relationship between extracurricular activities and delinquency of adolescents in foster care," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 33(6), pages 963-968, June.
    3. Lee, JoAnn S. & Courtney, Mark E. & Tajima, Emiko, 2014. "Extended foster care support during the transition to adulthood: Effect on the risk of arrest," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 34-42.
    4. Reckdenwald, Amy & Mancini, Christina & Beauregard, Eric, 2014. "Adolescent self-image as a mediator between childhood maltreatment and adult sexual offending," Journal of Criminal Justice, Elsevier, vol. 42(2), pages 85-94.


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