skip navigation


Abstract Database

Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

To download this abstract, check the box next to the NCJ number then click the "Back To Search Results" link. Then, click the "Download" button on the Search Results page. Also see the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 206895 Find in a Library
Title: Changes in Child Welfare and Subsequent Crime Rate Trends: A Cross-National Test of the Lagged Nurturance Hypothesis
Journal: Applied Developmental Psychology  Volume:23  Issue:1  Dated:January-February 2002  Pages:51-82
Author(s): Joanne Savage; Bryan Vila
Date Published: January 2002
Page Count: 32
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Using an extensive set of cross-national data, this study tested the lagged nurturance hypothesis, the levels of child welfare, and later crime rates.
Abstract: There is a General Paradigm for understanding criminal behavior and crime control. One of the General Paradigm’s most important predictions is that “nurturant” factors which improve the ability of young people to develop human and social capital will tend to reduce crime rates over time by decreasing the pool of highly motivated offenders. This lagged nurturance hypothesis predicts that “nurturant” factors at the aggregate level, such as maternal and infant health care, positive parenting, and early education will have an impact on crime rates when the children exposed to a given set of nurturant conditions reach their high-crime adolescent and young-adult years. This study tested the lagged nurturance hypothesis by examining relationships between measures of change in child nurturance and appropriately lagged measures of change in crime rates across nations. The study focused on change in nurturance and crime rather than absolute levels. It was found that several measures of change in child nurturance were associated with subsequent time-lagged changes in crime rates. The data indicate that there is a general tendency for countries that experienced larger improvements in measures of child nurturance from 1960 to 1970 to have experienced lesser increases in violent crime and property crime from 1980 to 1990, thereby supporting the lagged nurturance hypothesis that jurisdictions with better nurturance for small children will have lower crime rates when the children subject to those conditions reach their high-crime age. The support of the lagged nurturance hypothesis has important long-term implications which are discussed. Appendixes A-B and references
Main Term(s): Criminality prediction
Index Term(s): Adolescents at risk; Child development; Child welfare; Children at risk; Criminology
Note: Downloaded on September 16, 2004.
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.