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NCJ Number: 136853 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Title: Unraveling Girls' Delinquency: Biological, Dispositional, and Contextual Contributions to Adolescent Misbehavior
Author(s): A Caspi; D Lynam; T E Moffitt
Date Published: Unknown
Page Count: 46
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Mental Health
Bethesda, MD 20852
Grant Number: MH-43746; MH-45070; MH-41827
Type: Research (Applied/Empirical)
Format: Document
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: To assess the roots of female delinquency, this study examined processes linking biological and behavioral changes in different contexts during adolescence.
Abstract: The focus was on an unselected cohort of New Zealand girls whose psychological and biological development was traced across childhood through adolescence when they entered either mixed-sex or all-girl secondary schools. Psychological, medical, and sociological data were collected for 479 girls at age 5, 462 at age 7, 460 at age 9, 447 at age 11, 415 at age 13, and 474 at age 15. The impact of pubertal development on female delinquency was moderated by the sex composition of secondary schools. Early maturing girls in mixed-sex settings were at greatest risk for delinquency. School context was also implicated in the temporal stability of delinquency; delinquent behavior was significantly more stable among girls in mixed-sex schools than among those in all-girl schools. These contextual variations are interpreted in terms of the differential distribution of reinforcements and opportunities for delinquency. Analysis of the initiation into delinquency among girls in mixed-sex settings points to individual differences in the processes linking pubertal maturation to delinquent behavior. In particular, it is shown that initiation processes differ as a function of the girls' childhood histories of behavior problems. The results underscore the need to consider biological, dispositional, and contextual variables in delinquency research. 59 references, 6 footnotes, and 5 figures
Main Term(s): Female juvenile delinquents
Index Term(s): Behavior patterns; Foreign juvenile delinquency; Juvenile delinquency factors; Longitudinal studies; New Zealand
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