Factors Associated With the Seriousness of Criminal Behavior in Among Adolescents in Substance Abuse Treatment

Timothy W. Kinlock, Friends Research Institute, Inc.
Robert J. Battjes, Friends Research Institute, Inc.
Michael S. Gordon, Friends Research Institute, Inc.

While much is known about the criminal behavior patterns of general population youth, seriously delinquent "street" adolescent substance abusers, poor urban youth, and incarcerated adolescents, little is known about the criminality of adolescent substance abuse treatment clients. This information is important because of substantial increases in the number of youth attending substance abuse treatment programs and because adolescents who use substances regularly (weekly or more) are substantially more likely than non-users to be involved in non-drug illegal activity. This paper reports on an exploratory descriptive study of the lifetime patterns of criminal activity among adolescents admitted to five outpatient substance abuse treatment programs in Baltimore County, Maryland between July 2000 through December 2001(N=194). It presents preliminary findings on the factors related to the seriousness of criminal behavior. These factors include precocity for deviant behavior, risky sexual activity, grades in school, and substance abuse among members of the respondents' household.

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Updated 05/20/2006