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Child Maltreatment and Recidivism Among Adolescent Detainees

NCJ Number
Criminal Justice and Behavior Volume: 30 Issue: 6 Dated: December 2003 Pages: 623-643
J. B. Kingree; Debra Phan; Martie Thompson
Date Published
December 2003
21 pages
This document examines if recidivism in a sample of adolescent detainees was uniquely predicted by different types of abuse and neglect.
One of the more disturbing consequences of child maltreatment is that victims themselves often become perpetrators of crime. Because maltreatment is strongly associated with delinquency, one would also expect it to be associated with recidivism among adolescent offenders. The Childhood Trauma Questionnaire (CTQ) and other study measures were administered to adolescents while they were being detained in a short-term facility. Recidivism was assessed through a subsequent review of official records. It was hypothesized that recidivism would be more strongly predicted by neglect than by abuse experiences. It was also hypothesized that neglect would predict recidivism even after controlling for relevant sociodemographic and behavioral variables. The results showed that relatively high levels of emotional neglect were associated with recidivism during a 6-month follow-up period. These findings emerged through a series of regression analyses that considered single and multiple episodes of recidivism as well as the simultaneous influence of different sociodemographic, behavioral, and maltreatment variables. It is important that the findings converge with those from other studies that have found neglect to be more deleterious than abuse, including one indicating neglect to be a more potent predictor of recidivism. The analysis of any recidivism included race, prior detention, substance use consequences, and the total CTQ score as predictors. The analysis of times recidivated included prior detention and the total CTQ score as predictors. Results indicated that the total CTQ score was not significantly associated with either recidivism variable, which in turn points to the need to consider emotional neglect specifically in future studies. 4 tables, 43 references