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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 70262 Find in a Library
Title: Prediction of Delinquency in Girls
Journal: Journal of Research and Development in Education  Volume:11  Issue:2  Dated:(1978)  Pages:18-33
Author(s): D L Duke; P M Duke
Date Published: 1978
Page Count: 16
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Findings from many different studies are reported that relate to predictors of female juvenile delinquency that originate at home, that are based on characteristics of the delinquent girl herself, and that are primarily external to the person or the home.
Abstract: Families of predelinquents often were characterized by relatively poor parental mental health and generally less education. Parent-child relations often lacked affection and consistency. Mothers in particular seemed to be instrumental in the etiology of female delinquency. Family crises during critical periods of development also influenced later behavior. However, youngsters do play some role in shaping their own behavior and the behavior of those around them. Research regarding the female juvenile delinquents themselves is limited by mixed-sample results and extensive use of self-report data. Nevertheless, the best predictors of female delinquency so far appear to include certain personality factors (such as distrust for authority, unhappiness at school, and negative regard for police and legal institutions), low mathematics ability and achievement, and reports of behavior problems in elementary school. The presence of depression and anxiety in high school girls may also be a useful indicator, although it is unclear how much of either is needed before behavior becomes abnormal. Intelligence and school achievement are unreliable predictors of delinquency, as are mental health, peer relations, and most physiological factors. External factors such as Socioeconomic status, race, place of residence, and schooling do not appear to be promising fields for delinquency predictors. From all the research, it is apparent that factors relating to delinquency appear in clusters, that there are many different forms of delinquent behavior, that timing is a critical dimension in understanding the etiology of delinquency (e.g., delinquency changes markedly from adolescence to early adolescence), and that prediction does not seem to be very helpful and may actually be harmful through too much generalization. Researchers could study young people's behavior in multiple settings or look for predictors of healthy and well-adjusted female adolescents. Over 100 references are provided.
Index Term(s): Criminality prediction; Female juvenile delinquents; Home environment; Juvenile delinquency factors
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