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Does Child Maltreatment Predict Adult Crime? Reexamining the Question in a Prospective Study of Gender Differences, Education, and Marital Status

NCJ Number
Journal of Interpersonal Violence Volume: 30 Issue: 13 Dated: August 2015 Pages: 2238-2257
Date Published
August 2015
20 pages

In this study, bivariate analyses of adult crime and child maltreatment showed that individuals who had been maltreated as children, according to child welfare reports, subsequently committed more crime than others who had not been maltreated.


Analyses of crimes by categoryproperty, person, and societyprovided further evidence of a link between child maltreatment and crime at the bivariate level. Tests of gender differences showed that crime generally is more prevalent among males, although females with a history of maltreatment were more likely than those in a no-maltreatment (comparison) group to report having had some prior involvement in crime. Surprisingly, multivariate analyses controlling for childhood socioeconomic status, gender, minority racial status, marital status, and education level showed that, with one exception (crimes against society), the significant association between child maltreatment and crime observed in bivariate tests was not maintained. Implications for future research are discussed. (Publisher abstract modified)

Date Published: August 1, 2015