U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Does Educational Success Mitigate the Effect of Child Maltreatment on Later Offending Patterns?

NCJ Number
Date Published
February 2018
8 pages
This study examined offending patterns during adolescence and adulthood and their relation to child maltreatment subtypes and education factors measured during adolescence and adulthood.

A total of 356 participants were followed from preschool to adulthood in a prospective longitudinal study. Child maltreatment subtypes included physical-emotional abuse, sexual abuse, and neglect. Offending patterns were analyzed as latent classes of (a) chronic offending, (b) desistence, and (c) stable low-level or non-offending. Physical-emotional and sexual abuse were associated with a higher likelihood of chronic offending relative to stable low-level offending. Education variables, including high educational engagement and good academic performance, predicted a higher likelihood of low-level offending relative to desistence, but not desistence relative to chronic offending. Only educational attainment predicted desistence relative to chronic offending. There was no moderating effect of education variables on the association between child maltreatment subtypes and later offending patterns. Implications for research, practice, and policy are discussed. (publisher abstract modified)

Date Published: February 1, 2018