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NCJ Number: 151432 Find in a Library
Title: Is Child Maltreatment a Leading Cause of Delinquency?
Journal: Journal of the Child Welfare League of America  Volume:73  Issue:5  Dated:special issue (September/October 1994)  Pages:639-655
Author(s): I M Schwartz; J A Rendon; C-M Hsieh
Date Published: 1994
Page Count: 17
Type: Research (Applied/Empirical)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: In exploring the assumption that child maltreatment is a major cause of juvenile delinquency, the authors conclude that existing research is inconclusive and flawed.
Abstract: Juvenile justice resources have been channeled into apprehending and processing youthful offenders, while relatively few funds have been spent on the research necessary to formulate a coherent strategy for solving the juvenile crime problem. Some research studies report a causal link between child abuse and juvenile dysfunction. Many of these studies, however, are characterized by methodological difficulties and are limited by their heavy reliance on self-report and retrospective data. The studies also suffer from definitional, sampling, and measurement dilemmas and a lack of comparison groups. Therefore, the authors conclude that child maltreatment is not necessarily a leading cause of juvenile delinquency, including violent juvenile crime. They believe that existing studies still contain the key elements of quality research on juvenile delinquency causes. These elements involve the use of matched control groups for comparison purposes, control for socioeconomic factors in study samples, separation of abuse categories (physical, emotional, and sexual), and separation of status offenses from other criminal offenses. 65 references
Main Term(s): Juvenile victims
Index Term(s): Abused children; Child abuse as delinquency factor; Child victims; Juvenile delinquents; Juvenile offenders; Research methods
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