Combinations of Persistent Problems

Allowing for the higher rate of school problems in Rochester, the relationship between persistent serious delinquency and combinations of other persistent problem behaviors is fairly consistent across the sites studied (see tables 5 and 6). First, more than half of the male serious delinquents in Denver and Pittsburgh and more than half of the female serious delinquents in Denver display no other problems; in Rochester, the figure is roughly 40 percent for both genders. Second, drug use, alone or in combination with other problems, is the most common problem for both male and female delinquents and provides a moderate risk of serious delinquency.

Table 5

Table 6

Another way to examine combinations of problems is by a count of problems. The largest proportion of male serious delinquents (3956 percent across all sites) had none of the persistent problems examined in this Bulletin, followed in decreasing order by those having one problem (3032 percent) and those with two or more problems (1131 percent) (see table 7). However, among those with problems, as the number of problems increases, so does the chance of being a serious delinquent. More than half (5573 percent) of those with two or more problems were also serious delinquents.

Table 7

For females, the relationship was different and varied by site (see table 8). In Rochester, more than half of female delinquents were involved in two or more problem behaviors; in Denver, this figure was about 11 percent. In Rochester, approximately one-third of females with multiple problem behaviors were serious delinquents; in Denver, 15 percent were serious delinquents. The findings about girls are thus site specific, and generalizations are unwarranted.

Table 8

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Co-occurrence of Delinquency and Other Problem Behaviors Juvenile Justice Bulletin November 2000