The Relationship Between Victimization and Offending in Juveniles

Jennifer N. Shaffer, The Pennsylvania State University
R. Barry Ruback, The Pennsylvania State University

This study examined the relationships between offending and violent victimization across a two-year period using data from juveniles who participated in the Adolescent Health Study. Specifically, the study used cross-lag logistic regression techniques to examine how offending and violent victimization relate over time, whether the relationships between offending and violent victimization vary depending on the type of offending (e.g., property versus violent offending), and what factors might explain the relationships between violent victimization and offending. Results indicated that, controlling for other known risk fators, violent victimization in Year 1 predicted violent offending in Year 2 and that, violent offending in Year 1 predicted violent victimization in Year 2. In general, juveniles were at greater risk of both violent victimization and violent offending if they reported using drugs, alcohol, or tobacco, if they reported being depressed, and they were more physically mature. Overall, the results suggest that violent victimization can serve as a signal of heightened risk of violent offending and that protecting juveniles against violent victimization may reduce youth violence.

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Updated 05/20/2006