This study tested hypotheses that pertain to direct and indirect effects of parent-reported physical and emotional abuse on later self-reported criminal behavior in a sample of 356 adults in a longitudinal study of more than 30 years; childhood antisocial behavior was included in analyses as a potential mediator.
The study found that physical abuse predicted only adult crime indirectly through childhood antisocial behavior; whereas, emotional abuse predicted adult outcome both directly and indirectly. Chronicity of physical abuse was indirectly related to later crime in a subsample test for those who had been physically abused (n = 318); whereas, chronicity of emotional abuse was neither directly nor indirectly related to adult crime in a test of those who had been emotionally abused (n = 225). Implications for future research and practice are discussed. (Publisher abstract modified)