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An Evaluation of the Directional Relationship Between Head Injuries and Subsequent Changes in Impulse Control and Delinquency in a Sample of Previously Adjudicated Males

NCJ Number
Journal of Criminal Justice Volume: 56 Dated: May-June 2018 Pages: 70-80
Date Published
June 2018
11 pages

Since previous research remains unclear on whether head injuries influence subsequent levels of self-control and delinquency, or whether lower levels of self-control increase the likelihood of sustaining a head injury, the current study begins to address this gap in the literature by analyzing longitudinal data that span childhood to young adulthood on adolescent offenders from the Pathways to Desistance study.


A series of cross-lagged auto regressive path models were estimated to examine the prospective associations between head injuries, changes in impulse control (a dimension of self-control), and delinquency while controlling for stability in all three constructs. Findings indicate that 1) impulse control and delinquency displayed significant levels of stability across the study period; 2) head injuries appeared to occur prior to decreases in impulse control; 3) decreases in impulse control did not appear to systematically increase the odds of sustaining future head injuries; and 4) head injuries did not appear to result in systematic increases in delinquent behavior across the life course. (publisher abstract modified)

Date Published: June 1, 2018