The Relationship Between First Criminal Activity and Demographic and Behavioral Characteristics of Adolescents Entering Outpatient Substance Abuse Treatment

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

Although much is known about the criminal activity of adults entering substance abuse treatment, few studies have addressed criminal activity among youth entering such programs. Criminal involvement of adolescents entering five outpatient substance abuse treatment programs in Baltimore County, Maryland (n=194) between July 2000 and December 2001 will be described, along with their family structure, psychological functioning, substance abuse, and other problem behaviors. Analyses of criminal involvement showed that early onset of criminal activity was associated with greater severity of both criminal and aggressive behavior, having multiple sexual partners, and increased frequency of substance use prior to treatment admission.

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Updated 05/20/2006