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Resilient Girls-Factors that Protect Against Delinquency

NCJ Number
Date Published
January 2009
16 pages
Publication Series
This study explored four processes hypothesized to operate as protective factors in the lives of girls at risk for delinquency: support from or presence of a caring adult, school connectedness, school success, and religiosity.
The results of this study suggest that the presence of a caring adult, school success, school connectedness, and religiosity may protect against some forms of delinquent behavior for girls, but this protective effect was subject to complex interactions with risk factors and age. Understanding the role these protective factors play in the lives of girls has important implications for creating programs to prevent delinquency. Researchers must understand how protective factors operate in girls’ lives and when these protective factors are most relevant to girls’ development. In addition, researchers should understand the risks confronting adolescent girls and consider which protective factors are strong enough to mitigate particular risks. Abuse, neglect, poverty, and violence threaten the development and behavior of many youth, yet some remain resilient. This study was inspired in part by efforts to research factors that might protect against delinquency and to understand more clearly the unique needs and experiences of girls. The study used data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health) to determine whether the presence of a caring adult, connection with and success in school, and religiosity protected girls from involvement in delinquent behaviors and whether these protective factors operated differently for girls exposed to known risks of delinquency. Tables and references

Date Published: January 1, 2009