Maltreated Girls and Delinquency: What is the Relationship?

Shannon M. Barton, Grand Valley State University
Eric F. Bronson, The Bowling Green State University

As we enter the twenty-first century, it is becoming an evermore accepted premise that a direct connection between child maltreatment and delinquency exists. However, this connection is not well defined or examined in the present day literature. More specifically little research has sought to ascertain what factors increase the likelihood that a maltreated youth, particiularly girls, will participate in later delinquent or criminal activity. This study fills a void in the literature by addressing this issue. Using official data from a mid-western city, 237 maltreated girls ages six through nine during 1990-1992 were selected for inclusion in the study. Police and court records were checked to see if these youth had committed any official acts of delinquency. Preliminary results suggest that approximately half of all girls appearing in the court for maltreatment have committed at least one delinquent act. A multivariate analysis will be conducted to assess the impact of both individual and family level factors in delinquent activity. Results from this study will be presented as well as recommendations for future research.

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Updated 05/20/2006