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Concept: Juvenile delinquency

204

Many populations have been exposed to environmental lead from paint, petrol, and mining and smelting operations. Lead is toxic to humans and there is emerging evidence linking childhood exposure with later life antisocial behaviors, including delinquency and crime. This study tested the hypothesis that childhood lead exposure in select Australian populations is related to subsequent aggressive criminal behaviors.

Concepts: Biology, Environment, Natural environment, Crime, Lead, Antisocial personality disorder, Juvenile delinquency

145

This review considers juvenile delinquency and justice from an international perspective. Youth crime is a growing concern. Many young offenders are also victims with complex needs, leading to a public health approach that requires a balance of welfare and justice models. However, around the world there are variable and inadequate legal frameworks and a lack of a specialist workforce. The UK and other high-income countries worldwide have established forensic child and adolescent psychiatry, a multifaceted discipline incorporating legal, psychiatric and developmental fields. Its adoption of an evidence-based therapeutic intervention philosophy has been associated with greater reductions in recidivism compared with punitive approaches prevalent in some countries worldwide, and it is therefore a superior approach to dealing with the problem of juvenile delinquency.

Concepts: Childhood, Crime, Children, Psychiatry, Criminology, Juvenile delinquency, Conduct disorder, Juvenile delinquency in the United States

27

Child welfare clients represent a high-risk group for delinquency and adult criminality, but also for future suicidal behavior. We examine associations between delinquency and suicidal behavior in a national child welfare population. This register-based cohort study is based on data for all Swedish former child welfare clients born between 1972 and 1981 that experienced interventions before their adolescent years. We followed 27,228 individuals from age 20 years until 31 December 2006. Juvenile delinquency was defined as being convicted of at least one crime between age 15 and 19. The risk of suicidal behavior was calculated as incidence rate ratios (IRRs). Fifteen percent of the women and 40 % of the men had at least one conviction between the age 15 and 19. The adjusted risk of suicidal behavior among women with five or more convictions was 3.5 (95 % CI 2.0-6.2); corresponding IRR for men was 3.9 (95 % CI 3.1-4.9). Child welfare experience-specifically of out-of-home care-in combination with delinquency is a potent risk factor for suicidal behavior among young adults. However, we cannot exclude that some of this association is an epiphenomenon of uncontrolled confounders, such as impulsivity or severity of psychiatric disease. Despite this caveat, results should be disseminated to practitioners in the health and correction services.

Concepts: Epidemiology, Childhood, Crime, Conviction, Psychiatry, Criminology, Juvenile delinquency, Suicide

25

Hundreds of thousands of youth are held every year in U.S. juvenile justice detention centers and incarceration facilities. Increasingly it is known that these facility placements are at best ineffective and at worst lead to additional youth recidivism outcomes. What is most concerning, though, is that a majority of these incarcerated youth have one or more mental health/substance abuse disorders, special education disabilities, or maltreatment victimization histories-comorbid situations that negatively impact their involvement with the juvenile courts. In this article the authors summarize the epidemiology of these youth problems within the juvenile justice system. The authors then compare the outcome evidence for the youth placed in juvenile justice facilities with those placed in residential treatment centers, finding significant advantages to addressing the problems through rehabilitative efforts. Recognizing that there are a small number of serious youthful offenders who will need placement, their analysis finds that the juvenile courts must continue (or in many instances begin) reshaping their detention and incarceration facilities reliance on punishment toward a rehabilitative residential model.

Concepts: Sociology, Crime, Criminology, Prison, Juvenile delinquency, Abuse, Recidivism, Incarceration

9

Research in criminology and social-psychology supports the idea that visible signs of disorder, both physical and social, may perpetuate further disorder, leading to neighborhood incivilities, petty violations, and potentially criminal behavior. This theory of ‘broken windows’ has now also been applied to more enclosed environments, such as organizations.

Concepts: Scientific method, Sociology, Science, Crime, Criminology, Juvenile delinquency, Crime prevention, Signal crime

5

Participation in sports activities is very popular among adolescents, and is frequently encouraged among youth. Many psychosocial health benefits in youth are attributed to sports participation, but to what extent this positive influence holds for juvenile delinquency is still not clear on both the theoretical and empirical level. There is much controversy on whether sports participation should be perceived as a protective or a risk factor for the development of juvenile delinquency. A multilevel meta-analysis of 51 published and unpublished studies, with 48 independent samples containing 431 effect sizes and N = 132,366 adolescents, was conducted to examine the relationship between sports participation and juvenile delinquency and possible moderating factors of this association. The results showed that there is no overall significant association between sports participation and juvenile delinquency, indicating that adolescent athletes are neither more nor less delinquent than non-athletes. Some study, sample and sports characteristics significantly moderated the relationship between sports participation and juvenile delinquency. However, this moderating influence was modest. Implications for theory and practice concerning the use of sports to prevent juvenile delinquency are discussed.

Concepts: Scientific method, Medical statistics, Childhood, Effect size, Meta-analysis, Juvenile delinquency

5

The tendency to live in the here and now, and the failure to think through the delayed consequences of behavior, is one of the strongest individual-level correlates of delinquency. We tested the hypothesis that this correlation results from a limited ability to imagine one’s self in the future, which leads to opting for immediate gratification. Strengthening the vividness of the future self should therefore reduce involvement in delinquency. We tested and found support for this hypothesis in two studies. In Study 1, compared with participants in a control condition, those who wrote a letter to their future self were less inclined to make delinquent choices. In Study 2, participants who interacted with a realistic digital version of their future, age-progressed self in a virtual environment were less likely than control participants to cheat on a subsequent task.

Concepts: Prediction, Future, Cultural studies, Live albums, Juvenile delinquency, The Strongest

3

Adverse childhood experiences are associated with an array of health, psychiatric, and behavioral problems including antisocial behavior. Criminologists have recently utilized adverse childhood experiences as an organizing research framework and shown that adverse childhood experiences are associated with delinquency, violence, and more chronic/severe criminal careers. However, much less is known about adverse childhood experiences vis-à-vis specific forms of crime and whether the effects vary across race and ethnicity. Using a sample of 2520 male confined juvenile delinquents, the current study used epidemiological tables of odds (both unadjusted and adjusted for onset, total adjudications, and total out of home placements) to evaluate the significance of the number of adverse childhood experiences on commitment for homicide, sexual assault, and serious persons/property offending. The effects of adverse childhood experiences vary considerably across racial and ethnic groups and across offense types. Adverse childhood experiences are strongly and positively associated with sexual offending, but negatively associated with homicide and serious person/property offending. Differential effects of adverse childhood experiences were also seen among African Americans, Hispanics, and whites. Suggestions for future research to clarify the mechanisms by which adverse childhood experiences manifest in specific forms of criminal behavior are offered.

Concepts: Sexual intercourse, Crime, Race, Ethnic group, Race and ethnicity in the United States Census, Criminology, Juvenile delinquency, Conduct disorder

3

Neurobiological and behavioral findings suggest that the development of delinquent behavior is associated with atypical social-affective processing. However, to date, no study has examined neural processes associated with social interactions in severely antisocial adolescents. In this study we investigated the behavioral and neural processes underlying social interactions of juvenile delinquents and a matched control group. Participants played the mini-Ultimatum Game as a responder while in the MRI scanner. Participants rejected unfair offers significantly less when the other player had “no alternative” compared to a “fair” alternative, suggesting that they took the intentions of the other player into account. However, this effect was reduced in the juvenile delinquents. The neuroimaging results revealed that juvenile delinquents showed less activation in the temporal parietal junction (TPJ) and inferior frontal gyrus (IFG). However, the groups showed similar activation levels in the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (dACC) and the right anterior insula (AI) when norms were violated. These results indicate that juvenile delinquents with severe antisocial behavior process norm violations adequately, but may have difficulties with attending spontaneously to all relevant features of the social context during interactions.

Concepts: Sociology, Neuroscience, Cerebrum, Brodmann area 24, Anterior cingulate cortex, Cingulate cortex, Juvenile delinquency, Insular cortex

2

People frequently encounter sexual stimuli during Internet use. Research has shown that stimuli inducing sexual motivation can lead to greater impulsivity in men, as manifested in greater temporal discounting (i.e., a tendency to prefer smaller, immediate gains to larger, future ones). Extant findings in crime research suggest that delinquents tend to focus on short-term gains while failing to adequately think through the longer-term consequences of delinquent behavior. We experimentally tested the possibility that exposure to sexual stimuli is associated with the tendency to engage in cyber delinquency among men, as a result of their overly discounting remote consequences. In Experiment 1, participants exposed to pictures of “sexy” women were more likely to discount the future and were more inclined to make cyber-delinquent choices (e.g., cyberbullying, cyber fraud, cyber theft, and illegal downloading), compared with male participants who rated the sex appeal of less sexy opposite-sex pictures. However, these relationships were not observed in female participants exposed to either highly or less sexy pictures of men. In Experiment 2, male participants exposed to sexual primes showed a greater willingness to purchase a wide range of counterfeit rather than authentic products online and experienced a higher likelihood of logging into the other person’s Facebook webpage (i.e., invading online privacy). The discounting tendency mediated the link between exposure to sexual primes and the inclination to engage in cyber-delinquent behavior. These findings provide insight into a strategy for reducing men’s involvement in cyber delinquency; that is, through less exposure to sexual stimuli and promotion of delayed gratification. The current results suggest that the high availability of sexual stimuli in cyberspace may be more closely associated with men’s cyber-delinquent behavior than previously thought.

Concepts: Male, Economics, Sex, Experiment, Motivation, Juvenile delinquency, Tendency, Fraud