The Effects of Prenatal Problems, Family Functioning and Neighborhood Disadvantage in Predicting Violent Offending: Results From a National Sample

Michael G. Turner, Northeastern University
Donna M. Bishop, Northeastern University

Studies investigating the link between individual level risk factors and violent offending have recently explored the interplay between biological turned to the impact of those factors manifest emerging early in the life course (i.e., pre and perinatal factors) and childhood social factors combined with those in childhood (i.e., family disadvantages, structure and processes) in the etiology of delinquency and crime. For example, Moffitt's theoretical articulation suggests that individuals who experience experiencing neuropsychological deficits and who are raised in disadvantaged familial and neighborhood environments have a greater propensity to begin offending early in the life course and persist through adulthood. In addition, and perhaps more importantly, Moffitt suggests that these individuals have the highest propensity to engage in violent offending. While some research has cofirmed this relationship between pre/perinatal factors, structural disadvantage, and subsequent offending, much of the recent work used restricted samples been primarily based on samples composed of minorities, measured disadvantage only in terms of family structure, and relied on officially reported behavioral outcomes, and has failed to examine the processes within the family influencing violent offending. Using a subsample of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, we extend previous work by through investigating the additive and interactive interaction effects of that pre/perinatal prenatal complications (e.g., maternal alcohol use during pregnancy, smoking during pregancy, ande child's low birth weight), disadvantaged family structure and process, and neighborhood context environments have on predicting self-reported violent offending. The thyeoretical and pollicy implications of this research are discussed.

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Updated 05/20/2006