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NCJ Number: 70358 Find in a Library
Title: Portrait of the North American Runaway - A Critical Review
Journal: Journal of Youth and Adolescence  Volume:8  Issue:3  Dated:(1979)  Pages:359-373
Author(s): G R Adams; G Munro
Date Published: 1979
Page Count: 15
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: A review of available research literature questions psychopathic theories on runaway behavior and suggests that runaways reflect dissatisfaction with existing values in society.
Abstract: The passage of the 1974 Runaway Youth Act and growing numbers of runaway centers suggest that Americans are concerned with runaway behaviors and support wide-range social intervention. Although the runaway usually has been viewed as a pathological deviant who lacks the stabiity or courage to face a difficult situation, research has reported that runaways did not differ from their peers in social relationships, intelligence, and coping abilities. Runaways also appeared to be very sensitive to perceived problems with families and felt they lacked control over their environments. All social classes have experienced runaway behavior. Differences in research findings, coupled with methodological weaknesses in empirical studies, make it difficult to prove that runaway behavior is a function of negative psychological adjustment. Studies of why juveniles leave home have cited parent-child conflicts and a search for meaning and adventure. The impact of family stress and conflict on runaway children seems to be greater for girls than boys, possibly because girls are subject to more controls and stricter punishments. The alternative values model presents one approach to synthesize the growing literature on runaways. Youths react to existing social standards by running to another way of life. A different perspective on runaways, the deindividuation model, contends that adolescents when faced with parental conflict run away to find themselves. During periods of heightened self-awareness, adolescents may run to find themselves. Most will return home or find problems with their new situation. One step toward finding a solution for these youths would be an evaluation of priorities and values of society. Approximately 85 references are provided.
Index Term(s): Alienation; Behavior patterns; Psychological theories; Runaways
Note: *This document is currently unavailable from NCJRS. This article represents an extended version of a paper presented at a symposium entitled 'Adolescents and Families-Toward a Practical Understanding' at the Unversity of Arizona School of Social and Human Resources, Tuscon, Arizona (March 29-30, 1978).
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