U.S. flag

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

Protecting Against Adversity: The Role of Positive Childhood Experiences in Youth Recidivism

NCJ Number
Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice Volume: 21 Issue: 3 Dated: 2023 Pages: 248-274
Date Published

This article discusses research that examined the importance of positive childhood experiences across multiple youth populations and their ability to counteract adverse childhood experiences.


An abundance of research has established Adverse Childhood Experiences' (ACEs') contributions to deviant behavior. Recently, studies have demonstrated the importance of Positive Childhood Experiences (PCEs). Yet, the PCE establishment as a predictive scale is needed. In a multistate, robust sample (N = 254,874) of justice-involved youth, we examined PCE scale effects and ACE-PCE combinations on recidivism using mixed effects logistic regression while adjusting for the impact of state. Presence of PCEs was associated with lower reoffending likelihood, and ACEs were related to increased recidivism odds. Further, PCEs demonstrated a protective impact on ACEs. A ceiling effect on the ACE-PCE composite score was also identified, where an increase in scale items presented a curvilinear recidivism association. Findings provide an examination of PCE influence across multiple youth populations and their ability to counteract ACE effects. Policy implications discuss the utility of PCEs as case management goals and intermediate outcomes. (Published Abstract Provided)

Date Published: January 1, 2023