A PROSPECTIVE EXAMINATION OF THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN CHILDHOOD NEGLECT AND JUVENILE DELINQUENCY IN THE CAMBRIDGE STUDY IN DELINQUENT DEVELOPMENT

  • Lila Kazemian City University of New York
  • Cathy Spatz Widom City University of New York
  • David P. Farrington Cambridge University
Keywords: neglect, maltreatment, childhood risk factors, juvenile delinquency

Abstract

The relationship between childhood neglect and later life outcomes is an understudied topic. This study employs data from the Cambridge Study in Delinquent Development, a longitudinal follow-up of 411 working-class males in London, to examine (a) the profiles of the boys who were neglected in childhood and (b) the relationship between childhood neglect and juvenile delinquency, controlling for other risk factors. Findings reveal that boys who were neglected in childhood were characterized by other adverse events in childhood. Childhood neglect predicted both self-reported and official offending in adolescence, although these effects eventually dissipated with the introduction of other measures of childhood risk. The odds ratios are particularly large for official offending, with the odds of juvenile conviction being over four times higher for individuals who were exposed to neglect in childhood when compared to those who were not. Neglect and other adverse childhood characteristics were more predictive of official offending than self-reported offending, suggesting potential stigmatization effects. Implications of these findings as well as priority areas for future research are discussed.

Published
2011-01-31
Section
Articles