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Childhood Antecedents of Adolescent and Adult Crime and Violence, Final Report

NCJ Number
Date Published
December 2001
124 pages
This report profiles a project that involved the integration of several additional data sets into ongoing research on a random sample of American youth designed to determine childhood antecedents of adolescent and adult crime and violence.
The sample consisted of 815 persons born between 1965 and 1974, living in upstate New York in 1975, when the study began. A questionnaire that addressed a number of aspects of young-adult functions was mailed to study participants. Further, with the consent of the participants, FBI and New York State adult arrest records were assembled and consolidated. New York Child Welfare records were also obtained. Analyses of these data have included multilevel regression and logistic regression analyses of trajectories of mental disorders and a range of other multivariate methods suitable for complex multi-wave longitudinal data. The data analysis found that young adults with a history of childhood physical or sexual abuse had an elevated rate of arrest for a crime against persons. Maternal and paternal histories of antisocial behavior were related to offspring adult arrests. Also, persons with adult arrest records for violent, property, and drug-related crimes were found to have distinctive trajectories of psychopathology in childhood and adolescence. Analyses that examined males and females with distinct trajectories of aggressive or property offenses from childhood to adulthood manifested a number of distinguishing risks, including early childhood problems in executive function. Adolescent aggressive behavior was shown to be a sign of particularly high risk in females. Partner violence among young adults was found to be related to a history of abuse, harsh punishment, and to childhood and adolescent conduct disorder. Arrests for most offenses were highest in urban areas, compared with rural and suburban areas, except for driving offenses associated with drinking, which were highest in rural areas. Most differences were explained by lower socioeconomic status of the urban families. Implications of these findings for policy and practice are discussed. 42 references and extensive tabular and graphic data

Date Published: December 1, 2001