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Children at Risk for Delinquency - A Follow-Up Comparison of Aggressive Children and Children Who Steal

NCJ Number
Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology Volume: 7 Issue: 3 Dated: (1979) Pages: 345-355
D R Moore; P Chamberlain; L H Mukai
Date Published
11 pages
Followup incidence of court recorded nonstatus offenses were compared for three groups of adolescents in order to determine the risk for adolescent delinquency of two specific behaviors: stealing and aggression.
Study groups included 21 referred to a social learning study project for assessment and treatment 2 to 9 years earlier for problems with aggression in the home, 21 children originally referred for stealing, and 14 children matched by age and composition with the aggressive sample. The youths were all 14 years old or older at the time of the present study. Official juvenile court records were used to determine delinquent status. Results showed that 77 percent of the children with stealing problems had court recorded offenses, compared with 13 percent of the aggressive children and 21 percent of the normative children. Results suggested that young aggressive children were not at risk for adolescent court contact, but young children with identified stealing problems were highly likely to become official delinquents. Moreover, parent-reported stealing events appeared to be highly predictive of a child's future official delinquency status. Findings also suggested that aggressive children's lower later incidence of delinquency was due to the independence of the development of these two behavior patterns. Results suggested that programs aimed at early intervention for delinquency-/prone children should monitor parental knowledge of stealing to help identify children at risk of later delinquency. Tables, footnotes, and 10 references are included.