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.

Download full-text


Available from: Claire V Crooks, Oct 04, 2015
122 Reads
  • Source
    • "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). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    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
  • Source
    • "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. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    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
  • Source
    • "Eight items were chosen to reflect engagement in violent delinquency (e.g., ''fought with someone to the point where they needed care for their injuries''). Presence of violent delinquency perpetration (i.e., two or more forms of violent delinquency) was based on prior established cutoffs [16]. Peer relational victimization was assessed with five items from the Self-Report of Aggression and Social Behaviors survey [17]. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: To examine gender differences in prevalence and types of sexual harassment victimization experienced in grade 9 and how it contributes to relationship victimization and psychological adjustment 2.5 years later. A total of 1734 students from 23 schools completed self-report surveys at entry to grade 9 and end of grade 11. Self-report data were collected on victimization experiences (sexual harassment, physical dating violence, peer violence, and relational victimization) and adjustment (emotional distress, problem substance use, self-harm, suicidal thoughts, maladaptive dieting, feeling unsafe at school, and perpetration of violent delinquency). Separate analyses by sex were prespecified. Sexual harassment victimization was common among boys (42.4%) and girls (44.1%) in grade 9, with girls reporting more sexual jokes, comments, and unwanted touch than among boys, and with boys reporting more homosexual slurs or receiving unwanted sexual content. For girls, sexual harassment victimization in grade 9 was associated with elevated risk of self-harm, suicidal thoughts, maladaptive dieting, early dating, substance use, and feeling unsafe at school. A similar pattern of risk was found for boys, with the exception of dieting and self-harm behaviors. Adjusted odds ratios (AOR) indicated these students were significantly more likely than nonharassed students to report victimization by peers and dating partners 2.5 years later (AOR for boys and girls, respectively; all p < .01), including sexual harassment (AOR: 2.45; 2.9), physical dating violence (AOR: 2.02; 3.73), and physical peer violence (AOR: 2.75; 2.79). Gr 9 sexual harassment also contributed significantly to emotional distress (AOR: 2.09; 2.24), problem substance use (AOR: 1.79; 2.04), and violent delinquency perpetration (AOR: 2.1; 3.34) 2.5 years later (boys and girls, respectively; all p < .01). Sexual harassment at the beginning of high school is a strong predictor of future victimization by peers and dating partners for both girls and boys, and warrants greater prevention and intervention efforts.
    Journal of Adolescent Health 09/2009; 45(3):246-52. DOI:10.1016/j.jadohealth.2009.01.006 · 3.61 Impact Factor
Show more