Understanding the Link Between Childhood Maltreatment and Violent Delinquency: What Do Schools Have to Add?

University of Western Ontario, Centre for Research and Educationon Violence Against Women and Children in London, Ontario, Canada.
Child Maltreatment (Impact Factor: 2.77). 09/2007; 12(3):269-80. DOI: 10.1177/1077559507301843
Source: PubMed


Child maltreatment constitutes significant risk for adolescent delinquency. Although an ecological model has been proposed to explain this relationship, most studies focus on individual risk factors. Prospective data from 1,788 students attending 23 schools were used to examine the additive influence of childhood maltreatment, individual-level risk factors, and school-level variables assessed at the beginning of Grade 9 on delinquency 4 to 6 months later. Individual-level results indicated that being male, experiencing childhood maltreatment, and poor parental nurturing were predictors of violent delinquency. School climate also played a significant role: Given the same individual risk profile, a student attending a school that was perceived by students as safe was less likely to engage in violent delinquency than was a student attending a school perceived to be unsafe. Moreover, the impact of childhood maltreatment on risk for engaging in violent delinquency was somewhat mitigated by schools' participation in a comprehensive violence prevention program.

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    • "Similarly , both Benbenishty et al. (2002) and Dunn (2001) added variables to their versions. Bosworth, Espelage, and Simon (1999) chose only four of the 20 original items of the PSSM focusing on a sense of belonging to one's school, while Crooks et al. (2007) chose 18 thereby broadening the scope of school climate to youth's perceived feelings of acceptance, inclusion, respect and encouragement for participation at school. Others, like Cushing, Horner, and Barrier (2003) drop subscales from the SCS due to low validity scores. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background: School climate is a heterogeneous concept with a multitude of standardised and validated instruments available to measure it. Purpose: This overview of measurement scales aims to provide researchers with short summaries of some of the self-report instruments in existence, especially in relation to the link between school climate and aggression, within the context of Bronfenbrenner’s model. A secondary aim of this article is to show how the same instrument can sometimes be adapted to fit different theoretical approaches or to focus on different dimensions of school climate. Design and methods: After database consultation and literature hand searching, the resulting literature was screened for a statistical analysis of school climate and aggression. Those studies that had unclear operationalisations of the main variables or used qualitative methods were excluded. The resulting selection of studies were further scanned for common instruments used to evaluate school climate. Conclusions: This article will show how the California School Climate Survey (CSCS), the Psychological Sense of School Membership Scale (PSSM), the School Climate Survey (SCS) and the Effective School Battery (ESB) as well as different versions of self-created scales on school connectedness, school climate and school culture have been adapted by different researchers in different contexts. Finally, the necessity of adapting a pre-existing instrument or creating a new one will be discussed.
    Educational Research 11/2013; 55(4):411-426. DOI:10.1080/00131881.2013.844944 · 0.48 Impact Factor
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    • "The program also resulted in increased condom use among sexually active boys. In addition to the RCT findings, the impact of cumulative forms of childhood maltreatment on risk for engaging in violent delinquency was greater among those schools that had not participated in the program, suggesting a school-wide buffering effect for the most vulnerable students (Crooks et al. 2007). This protective impact of Fourth R schools among maltreated youth with respect to violent delinquency was still evident 2-years post-intervention (Crooks et al. 2011). "
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    ABSTRACT: This study examines peer resistance skills following a 21-lesson classroom-based intervention to build healthy relationships and decrease abusive and health-risk behaviors among adolescents. The Fourth R instructs students in positive relationship skills, such as negotiation and delay, for navigating challenging peer and dating scenarios. Observational data from 196 grade 9 students participating in a larger cluster randomized controlled trial were used to evaluate post-intervention acquisition of peer resistance skills. Pairs of students engaged in a role play paradigm with older student actors, where they were subjected to increasing pressure to comply with peer requests related to drugs and alcohol, bullying, and sexual behavior. Specific and global measures of change in peer resistance responses were obtained from two independent sets of observers, blinded to condition. Specific peer resistance responses (negotiation, delay, yielding to pressure, refusal, and compliance) were coded by research assistants; global peer resistance responses were rated by teachers from other schools (thinking / inquiry, application, communication, and perceived efficacy). Students who received the intervention were more likely to demonstrate negotiation skills and less likely to yield to negative pressure relative to controls. Intervention students were also more likely to use delay than controls; control girls were more likely to use refusal responses; the number of times students complied with peer requests did not differ. Teacher ratings demonstrated significant main effects favoring intervention youth on all measures. Program and research implications are highlighted.
    Prevention Science 11/2011; 13(2):196-205. DOI:10.1007/s11121-011-0256-z · 2.63 Impact Factor
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    • "In our study there was not a significant main effect for reducing youths' violent delinquency based on schools' participation in the comprehensive prevention program, although there was a trend in this direction. However, this study (and the previous study based on post-test findings; Crooks, Scott, et al., 2007; Crooks, Wolfe, et al., 2007) demonstrates that the impact of the program on violent delinquency is differentiated depending on the child maltreatment status of the youth. As these results show (in combination with the findings of our RCT; Wolfe, Crooks, Chiodo, et al., 2009, a program designed for all youth in a particular setting may affect various subpopulations of youth differently. "
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    ABSTRACT: Child maltreatment constitutes a strong risk factor for violent delinquency in adolescence, with cumulative experiences of maltreatment creating increasingly greater risk. Our previous work demonstrated that a universal school-based violence prevention program could provide a protective impact for youth at risk for violent delinquency due to child maltreatment history. In this study we conducted a follow-up to determine if participation in a school-based violence prevention program in grade 9 continued to provide a buffering effect on engaging in acts of violent delinquency for maltreated youth, 2 years post-intervention. Secondary analyses were conducted using data from a cluster randomized controlled trial of a comprehensive school-based violence prevention program. Students (N=1,722; 52.8% female) from 20 schools participated in 21 75-min lessons in grade 9 health classes. Individual data (i.e., gender, child maltreatment experiences, and violent delinquency in grade 9) and school-level data (i.e., student perception of safety averaged across students in each school) were entered in a multilevel model to predict violent delinquency at the end of grade 11. Individual- and school-level factors predicting violent delinquency in grade 11 replicated previous findings from grade 9: being male, experiencing child maltreatment, being violent in grade 9, and attending a school with a lower perceived sense of safety among the entire student body increased violent delinquency. The cross-level interaction of individual maltreatment history and school-level intervention was also replicated: in non-intervention schools, youth with more maltreatment in their background were increasingly likely to engage in violent delinquency. The strength of this relationship was significantly attenuated in intervention schools. Follow-up findings are consistent with the buffering effect of the prevention program previously found post-intervention for the subsample of youth with maltreatment histories. A relative inexpensive school-based violence prevention program that has been shown to reduce dating violence among the whole student body also creates a protective effect for maltreated youth with respect to lowering their likelihood of engaging in violent delinquency.
    Child abuse & neglect 06/2011; 35(6):393-400. DOI:10.1016/j.chiabu.2011.03.002 · 2.34 Impact Factor
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