The aim of this study is to determine whether basic housing, financial, and food insecurities in part explain the relationship between childhood neglect and violence as documented in the “cycle of violence” literature.
Using a prospective cohort design, neglected children (under the age of 12) with court substantiated histories (1967–1971) in one metropolitan Midwest area and demographically matched non-neglected children were followed into adulthood. Housing, financial, and food insecurities were assessed in 2003–2005 interviews at mean age 41. Official arrest data were used to measure violence ever and from 2003 through 2013. Mediation was tested using probit structural equation modeling. Controlling for age, sex, and race, childhood neglect predicted violent arrests and housing, financial, and food insecurities in middle adulthood. Housing and financial securities predicted violent arrests ever and after 2003, whereas food insecurity only predicted any violent arrest ever. Housing and financial insecurities partially mediated the relationship between childhood neglect and violent criminal behavior. Greater attention and efforts need to focus on providing basic housing, financial, and food support for neglected children to reduce their risk for violent criminal behavior. (Publisher Abstract Provided)