Exposure to crime and future delinquency: Examining the moderating influence of gender




Richards, Caitlin

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Few studies have simultaneously examined the relative influence of exposure to various sources of crime and violence on subsequent delinquent behavior. Further, it is unclear whether exposure to these sources affects males and females in similar ways. The current study addresses this gap in the literature by looking at the relative contributions of child physical abuse, witnessing serious violence, and parental incarceration, and how they interact with gender to influence self-reported violent offending and arrest. To do this, longitudinal data from a nationally representative sample of adolescents were analyzed using logistic regression analysis. The sample was split by gender and difference of coefficients tests were conducted to determine whether the coefficients for child physical abuse, witnessing serious violence, and parental incarceration were significantly different for males and females. Results show that child physical abuse increases self-reported violent offending for males, but not females. Witnessing serious violence is statistically significant in predicting future self-reported violent offending for both males and females, though the effect is stronger for females. All three exposure variables- child physical abuse, witnessing serious violence, and parental incarceration- significantly increased the likelihood of arrest, with no gender differences observed.


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Criminal Justice