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Joint Impact of Family and Community Structure on Violent Delinquency

NCJ Number
Terence P. Thornberry; Gina Penly Hall
Date Published
February 2005
11 pages
This report presents findings from the Rochester Youth Development Study on the association between family structure, neighborhood disadvantage, and youth violent offending.
Results indicated that both the number of caretaker transitions and neighborhood disadvantage were significantly associated with youth violent offending. Specifically, youth who resided in families that experienced frequent changes in family structure were significantly more likely to be involved in violent offending and youth who resided in disadvantaged neighborhoods were more likely to be involved in violent offending. However, caretaker transitions and neighborhood disadvantage did not significantly interact with one another, meaning that the impact of disadvantaged neighborhoods on violent offending was the same regardless of the number of family structure transitions. The study was an attempt to replicate recent research findings (Lauritsen 2003) that indicated that rates of violent victimization were the same for youth residing in the least and in the most disorganized neighborhoods. Data were drawn from the Rochester Youth Development Study, an ongoing longitudinal study exploring the causes and consequences of serious, violent, and chronic delinquency that has followed a panel of juveniles from their early teenage years through the age of 30 years. The sample under analysis in this study included an oversample of adolescents aged 14 to 17 years who were at high risk for serious delinquency and drug use. Variables under analysis included violent delinquency, family structure, and neighborhood social and structural disadvantage, which were measured using the 1990 Census Summary File for census tracks in Monroe County. Data were analyzed using multivariate regression models and the findings did not support the findings reported by Lauritsen (2003). References, tables, figures