Contrubuting Factors to Juvenile Delinquency

Table of Content

Juvenile delinquency has and still continues to affect society for as long as crime and humanity have existed . Often times , it is acknowledged that juvenile delinquency is a major problem in todays world and society but not enough attention is put on the causes of juvenile delinquency. There are many contributing factors leading juveniles and young people to commit crimes. For example , many juveniles commit crimes as a result of their upbringing . Many studies were conducted to determine the contributing factors associated with juvenile delinquency . However , few have looked at factors affecting juvenile delinquency such as depression, traumatic childhood experiences , psychological mental issues , family and peers influences , parental relationships amongst many other things .

Studies have shown that a child does not just commit a crime but something prior to committing the crime has taken place which lead to their delinquency (Freeman 1996) . A child can commit a crime simply as a result of what they were taught. For example , many children were raised aggressively and as a result of the constant aggressiveness they have witness in the home; it caused them to fall into juvenile delinquency (Nelson 2016). In addition , when a child is facing trials such as peer pressure and depression , committing a crime may be the way a child chooses to cope with their issues and that may not be a good strategy . This research will aim at exploring specific factors that leads to children and youths committing crimes. African American students from Virginia State University will be an asset to the study by collecting data from them based on their responses from the one on one interview about their past childhood experiences.

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The purpose of this study is to explore the contributing factors of juvenile delinquency. This study is used as a platform to closely examine why juveniles commit crimes and how to decreased the frequency of juvenile delinquency. In some cases, people may not know what takes place before a juvenile commits a crime .The assumption that can be made is “ that child is just bad”. However , many authors have not explored the causes and factors leading to this child so-called “bad behavior” For example , some of the factors that can increase juvenile delinquency are, depression , peer pressure , parental relationships , a child’s environment , amongst many other factors.In addition, factors such as depression can play a crucial leading role in delinquent behavior in children and youth. Therefore , this study will examine several factors pertaining to juvenile delinquency. To further execute this study , undergraduate students from Virginia State University; all of which will be African Americans will participate in this research and answer questions in a one-on-one interview.

Literature Review

Youths who have been or are sexual offenders often times have history with these kind of people in their family . A study done by authors Yoder, Dillard and Leibowitz examined how family environments including substance use, mental health, physical and emotional victimization experiences, attachment, and parenting styles differ from subgroups of youth offenders including youth sexual offenders. The researchers used participants sexual victimization histories, and nonsexual offenders without sexual victimization histories (Yoder , Dillard, Leibowitz 2017). Youth sexual offenders were (n = 179) and without (n = 176) sexual victimization histories, and nonsexual offenders without sexual victimization histories (n = 150). The results show that youth sexual offenders with sexual victimization histories were put at a greater risks of becoming a juvenile due to their family experiences and family environments as opposed to nonsexual offenders who has no sexual victimization histories.

Child abuse has been looked at as a cause to delinquency in many children. Suman Kaka conducted research on child abuse and he gathered his information from records of substantiated abuse in the Florida Protective Services System’s Department of Children, Youth, and Families. The records were used to examine the effects of child abuse and delinquency. The control group was based off of gender, age, and ecumenic status was used to compare the delinquency rates among children who were abused and children who were not abused. The abused group has 56% higher delinquency referral rate than the control group. The abused males have 76% higher referral rates than the control males and the abused females have 32.5% higher referral rate which shows the abused children had a higher delinquency referral rate ( Kaka 1996).

A child’s experiences growing up can lead to maladaptive behaviors some of which are known as serious, violent, and chronic (SVC) delinquency (Perez, Jennings, Baglivio , 2016). Data was used from 64,329 Florida Department of Juvenile Justice youth and was collected from the year 2007 to 2012. The reason the researchers did that was to examine both the direct and indirect effects of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) on SVC delinquency.The study concluded that a large proportion of the relationship between childhood adversity and SVC delinquency is a direct result of maladaptive personality traits and adolescent problem behaviors (Perez, Jennings & Baglivio , 2016).

Some authors have conducted studies to determine if a child’s maturity level can play a big role in juvenile delinquency. Authors such as Jennifer Mayer have found that a child displays their maturity level even in serious places such as a court room and in the presence of a judge who can hold their fate. A study was done involving Three hundred and forty-two judges and they participated in research and reviewed a forensic psychological report about a hypothetical defendant. The defendant’s ages were(12-17) and maturity level (mature and immature) varied though out the reports (Cox et al. 2012). The results explained the major effect age has on maturity . For example, the older juveniles in the study mostly were more competent, mainly due to maturity. The researchers suggest that age and maturity play major roles in judicial determinations of juvenile competency based on the finding and the participants. (Jennifer Mayer Cox et al. 2012) .

When a child is constantly spoken too in a negative way , it can cause them to become violent and have criminal behavior (Thoyibah, Intansari, Sumarni ,2017). A study done by Thoyibah and others used information from junior high students to test the relationship between family communication patterns and juvenile delinquency. In this study , there were 243 students selected using simple random sampling from the 7th and 8th grade students of Junior High School who were questioned to see the pattern between family communication and juvenile delinquency . Based on the findings of this study , evident that the majority of those is the study fell in the category of juvenile delinquency (65%) and the majority of communication pattern was in functional category (73.3%). Based on how close those numbers are to each other, the results show that there is a significant relationship between family communication pattern and juvenile delinquency (Zurriyatun & Thoyibah , 2017).

In some cases , people may look at juvenile delinquency from a family point of view in terms of parental relationship. However, siblings can play a major role in their other siblings becoming a juvenile (Walters 2018) . Research was examined to see if sibling delinquency can be a risk factor for a child becoming a delinquent instead of only believing that the parents of the child is the reason why a child is a delinquent . For the research , the participants for this study were 215 males from fourth grade through tenth grade most of which were White students from the Oregon Screening of Youth at Risk for Delinquency sample. Those who participated in the study revealed that they will more likely fall into delinquency as a result of sibling delinquency .The sample was divided into younger age group from ages 9–12 at Wave 1) and ages 13–17 at Wave 1) and the predictive effect of sibling delinquency was confined to the older subgroup. The results concluded that sibling delinquency can be a risk factor for future offending and as a target for intervention in the treatment of delinquency (Walter 2018).

Author’s Fite , Preddy , Vitulano, Elkins,Grassetti and Wimsatt examined the relationship between friendships and delinquency and the contextual risk factors. The findings show that when children start associating with deviant peers, they are more likely too adapt delinquent behavior (Pardini, Loeber, & Stouthhamer Loeber, 2005).This study was done to determine if best friend delinquency has or has had an effect on contextual risk factors . Based on reports of delinquency in a community, there was a sample of 147 school aged children. The mean age was 8.22 years, standard deviation was 1.99; and 54% of those in the study was males. The findings and results supported that there is an effect caused by best friend delinquency and it is depended depended on the contextual risk factor which relates to why children can be influenced their peers. The study continued to say that , best friend delinquency has a greater negative impact between neighborhood problems and delinquency compared to just negative life events (Fite et al. 2012)

Research shows that adolescent males may respond to stress with maladaptive emotions and behaviors that include anger, rage, and physical aggression (Lui & Kaplan 1999). Children who can identity with that behavior have higher chances of acting out aggressively which can then lead to a child becoming criminal minded. Researchers have found that between 32% and 79% of violent offenders have had histories of violent victimization, such as physical or sexual abuse (Lemmon 1999 ; Smith & Thornberry 1995). Studies say that , children who have experience things such as depression and bad grades in school have a higher chance of engaging in delinquency and violence even though those experiences are considered less traumatic. (Eitle & Turner 2002).

A study on self-reported psychopathic traits in sexually offending juveniles was done to compare generally offending juveniles and general population youth. The purpose of this study was to closely evaluate the relationship between sexually aggressive behavior and psychopathy in youths. This study examined juveniles who sexually offended and it was compared too generally offending youths and a general population group. The research involved 71 juveniles , 416 detained general offenders, and 331 males from the general population and they were assessed based off of the Youth Psychopathic traits Inventor. The findings of this study were: Sexually and generally offending juveniles had evident lower levels of self-reported psychopathic traits than youths from the general population (Boonman et al. 2013). However , there was no difference in Juvenile sexual offenders and generally offending and the results of in self-reported psychopathic traits did not differ.

One thing parents should be mindful of is , what they allow their children to watch . The study was done on media and its relationship with violence and juvenile delinquency . The study went on to show the danger of violence in movies and how it relates to Pakistani youth and figuring out the connection between the two. This study shows that violence in the media in fact causes delinquency, and produces criminal behavior, especially within the context of Pakistani society. Although this study was geared towards Pakistani-an boys , it still can apply to children all around the world (Naima , Tansif & Mehmood 2018).

About 3% to 15% of people who watch child pornography are juveniles (Marcel Aebi et al. 2013). This study included 54 participants who were male juveniles convicted of the possession of child pornography. Juvenile possessors of child pornography were compared to three different groups of juveniles. The groups were : Juvenile possessors of other illegal pornography (n = 42), juveniles who committed a sexual contact offense against a child (n = 64), and juveniles who committed a sexual contact offense against a peer or adult (n = 104). Based on the findings, it showed that there is a difference with juvenile possessors of child pornography compared to juveniles who had committed a sexual contact offense. The demographics showed that subsequent offending is less likely than juveniles who sexually offended (Marcel Aebi et al. 2013).

In addition to family , friends , media, and all other things that contribute to juvenile delinquency , another factor to why children commit crimes is , in residential care . Children who are in residential care are more likely to fall into juvenile delinquency (Granado , Sala-Roca & Guiu 2015). In the study that was conducted, there were 255 youths in juvenile detention centers,of which 247 were male and only 8 female. Of this group, 34.5% are youths from residential care centers, and the remaining 65.5% are non-protected youths. As the study continued , based on the results collected combined with other studies, the findings showed that ;there is a high population of youths in residential care in juvenile detention centers, and more than half of them are of immigrant origin.

There are particular researchers who wanted to evaluate the prevalence in concurrent disorders amongst juveniles who are admitted to detention centers . For the study conducted by authors Abrantes , Hoffmann and Anton , participants from detention centers were examined while information regarding substance use disorders, mental health conditions, and related experiences was collected. In this study ,data from 252 consecutively admitted adolescents was analyzed to determine the main areas of their problems. The reason that was done was to provide a preliminary exploration of interrelationships among those problems. (Abrantes, Hoffmann & Anton 2005). The results showed that almost all of the participants who were in detention centers had mental issues and majority of those participants who showed to have mental health issues were female juveniles.

To support why there can be contributing factors to juvenile delinquency , a study was done by Hajar and Bakar too evaluate children who went through poverty growing up. The reason this study was done was to show the relationship between poverty and juvenile delinquency. Six young offenders were selected between the ages of 13 and 17 years from places called Sekolah Tunas ,Bakti Sungai Besi, Kuala Lumpur, all located in Malaysia. This research was done with careful observation and based on that , the results showed that there are three major crime enhancement themes related to poverty and delinquency .


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