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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 70345 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Title: Comparison of the Medical Histories of Incarcerated Delinquent Children and a Matched Sample of Non-Delinquent Children
Journal: Child Psychiatry and Human Development  Volume:9  Issue:4  Dated:(Summer 1979)  Pages:210-214
Author(s): D O Lewis; S S Shanok
Date Published: 1979
Page Count: 5
Sponsoring Agency: Ford Foundation
New York, NY 10017
US Dept of Justice
Washington, DC 20531
Grant Number: 730A-41-57458; 76AE418003X
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: The medical histories of nondelinquent and incarcerated delinquent children were compared to discover whether combinations of biological and psychological factors contribute to the development of serious delinquency.
Abstract: A random sample of 81 incarcerated children was matched for age, sex, and race with a random sample of 81 nondelinquent children from the same socioeconomic and geographic area in a study of hospital records. The study looked at hospital visits, emergency room visits, clinic visits, ward admissions, accidents, head or face injuries, respiratory illnesses, perinatal difficulties, abuse, and psychiatric symptoms. Incarcerated children had significantly more hospital visits, emergency room visits, and head injuries, and were more likely to have been abused than nondelinquents. Perinatal difficulties were more prevalent in the histories of incarcerated delinquents, especilly in the histories of violent delinquents. Securely held children, while reporting some accidents and injuries, tended to minimize these events and to minimize the kind of physical injury they had experienced; more numerous and serious injuries were documented in their hospital charts than those they reported. Thus, delinquent children, even though physically abused, are strongly attached to their parents and often try to hide the abuse or trauma they have experienced at their parents' hands. Children sent to correctional schools also tend to be more vulnerable neuropsychiatrically than their nondelinquent peers. Thus poor impulse controls, learning disabilities, and impaired judgment, resulting from central nervous system trauma, coupled with faulty behavioral models and the experience of brutality, combine to engender the seriously delinquent behaviors that result in incarceration. Seven references and supporting graphs are provided.
Index Term(s): Biological influences; Child abuse as delinquency factor; Juvenile delinquency factors; Juvenile Delinquent-nondelinquent comparisons; Juvenile dependency and neglect; Nonbehavioral correlates of crime; Psychological causes of delinquency; Studies
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