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Urban Delinquency and Substance Abuse: Initial Findings Research Summary

NCJ Number
Date Published
March 1994
37 pages
Three longitudinal surveys being conducted in Denver, Pittsburgh, and Rochester, N.Y. and sponsored by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention are examining the causes and correlates of juvenile delinquency and juvenile drug use.
The studies are gathering information from children of various ages and involve regular data collection over periods of 4-5 years from 1987 through 1992. The measures focus on official and self-reports of delinquent behavior, self-reports of drug abuse, characteristics of the community and neighborhood, family demographic characteristics, parental attitudes and child-rearing practices, child or youth attitudes and school performance, and peer delinquency and conventional activities. The initial results have revealed that youth experience the onset of delinquency, drug use, and many other problem behaviors before the teenage years. In addition, juvenile drug use and delinquency are closely related, with drug use stimulating delinquency more than the reverse. Moreover, peer influences are strong, and delinquency often develops according to an orderly progression from less to more serious behaviors. The findings to date suggest that prevention programs must start early in life and should intercept youth in certain behavioral pathways before delinquent behavior becomes more ingrained. In addition, interventions must be comprehensive and should be designed for the long term. Figures and glossary

Date Published: March 1, 1994