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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 82180 Find in a Library
Title: Delinquency and Drug Use Relationship Among Adolescents - A Critical Review (From Drug Abuse and the American Adolescent, P 82-103, 1981, Dan J Lettieri and Jacqueline P Ludford, ed.)
Author(s): R R Clayton
Date Published: 1981
Page Count: 22
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice/
Rockville, MD 20849
Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/
NCJRS paper reproduction
Box 6000, Dept F
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America
Document: PDF
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: The literature on the relationship between drug use and juvenile delinquency is critically examined using the three widely accepted criteria of causality outlined by Hirschi and Selvin: association, temporal order, and testing of the relationship for spuriousness.
Abstract: The existing literature has consistently proven a statistical association between delinquency and drug use. Consensus also exists that the onset of delinquency usually precedes the involvement with such illicit drugs as marijuana, barbiturates, and heroin. However, alcohol use and first alcohol intoxication have been shown to precede delinquency. The two studies that have most rigorously applied the third criterion of causality also agree that the relationship between delinquency and drug use is spurious in that both appear to reflect a proneness toward deviance that is expressed through different behaviors at different ages. However, analysis of data from the 1979 Krohn and Massey study of over 3,000 adolescents from 12 to 17 years of age provides strong evidence that the relationship between delinquency and drug use is not spurious. This study considered both minor delinquency (running away, truancy, and school suspension) and serious delinquency (vandalism, theft, and assault). It allowed for spuriousness testing using a series of items derived from a widely accepted theory of deviance. The finding of a potential causal relationship between delinquency and drug use suggests that it may be possible to devise effective early detection, drug education, and prevention programs that constitute primary prevention rather than secondary or tertiary prevention. Figures, tables, and 60 references are provided. (Author summary modified)
Index Term(s): Criminality prediction; Drug use; Juvenile delinquency factors
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