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Data From the Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods (PHDCN): A Prospective Study of Serious Delinquency in Adolescent Girls

NCJ Number
Date Published
April 2002
55 pages
This report discusses various ways to predict delinquency in adolescent girls in Chicago.
Focusing on means of predicting delinquency in adolescent girls, this report details identity factors associated with girls’ aggressive and violent behaviors. After discussing the increasing prevalence of adolescent girls’ physical aggression and the lack of literature addressing this issue, the author contends that risk factors for aggression occur at the individual, family, and neighborhood levels. Funded by the National Institute of Justice, this project, drew data from the Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods, which interviewed 1,077 adolescent girls who resided across 77 neighborhoods. Comprising 478 Latina, 416 African-American, and 183 white girls aged 9, 12, and 15 years old, the adolescents and their primary care givers were interviewed in their homes regarding pubertal development, depressive symptoms, and engagement in anti-social behaviors. Interview results were analyzed using multiple regression and latent variable regression. The author found that there was no relationship between pubertal development scales and aggressive or anti-social behaviors. Furthermore, depressive symptoms were positively associated with girls’ delinquent behaviors with a high likelihood of co-occurrence of violent behavior the longer an adolescent experienced depressive symptoms. Arguing that consideration of girls’ physical aggression was often not thought about in conjunction with the context of their neighborhoods, the author agues that the complex relationship between physical aggression and depressive symptoms is best explained by taking the contribution of individual, family, and neighborhood characteristics into account. The author concludes this report arguing that additional studies need to address the contributions of race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status to further unpack issues of girls’ aggression in the United States. References

Date Published: April 1, 2002