skip navigation


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

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. 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: 228056 Find in a Library
Title: Adolescent Maltreatment, Negative Emotion, and Delinquency: An Assessment of General Strain Theory and Family-Based Strain
Journal: Journal of Criminal Justice  Volume:37  Issue:4  Dated:July/August 2009  Pages:379-387
Author(s): Dusten R. Hollist; Lorine A. Hughes; Lonnie M. Schaible
Date Published: August 2009
Page Count: 9
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Using data from a national sample of 1,423 youth, this study tested hypotheses derived from Agnew’s (1992, 2001) general strain theory (GST) regarding the relationship between adolescent maltreatment and delinquent behavior.
Abstract: Highlighting the importance of parent-child problems as a significant source of strain leading to delinquency, the findings indicate a significant association between maltreatment and all three types of delinquent behavior, i.e., general, serious, and substance use. The findings also confirmed the theoretical prediction that negative emotions are key intervening mechanisms. When the effect of anger, anxiety, and depression were controlled, there was a consistent reduction in the strength of the effect of maltreatment on delinquency. As the theory predicts, anger was the most significant emotion linked to delinquency. According to GST, however, the effect of strain on delinquency is indirect and should be mitigated by controls for negative emotion. The data did not support this theory. Similar to findings from other studies, results indicated that maltreatment continued to exert significant effects on general and serious delinquency even after controlling for negative emotions and both individual and family characteristics. This suggests that anger, anxiety, and depression are not the only mechanisms through which adolescent maltreatment contributes to delinquency. The direct effects of negative emotions were found to be equally, if not more, consequential for delinquency than the direct effect of maltreatment. Study data were obtained from the first and second waves of the National Survey of Children (NSC), a national survey of 2,000 children in the United States, with an oversampling of Blacks. Sampled youth were between the ages of 7 and 11 when they were first interviewed in 1976. In the second wave of data collection, the focus was on recontacting youth who reported having family problems 5 years earlier. 4 tables, 8 notes, 78 references, and appendix
Main Term(s): Juvenile delinquency factors
Index Term(s): Adolescent abuse; Adolescent victims; Adolescents at risk; Anger; Child abuse as crime factor; Child abuse as delinquency factor; Emotional disorders; Juvenile delinquent family relations; Psychological victimization effects; Sexually abused adolescents; Strain theory
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.