Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


Juvenile delinquents-Psychology, Juvenile delinquency-Psychological aspects, Teenage boys-Psychology, Child abuse-Psychological aspects, Children and violence, Violent offenders-Psychology, Violent crimes, Crimes without victims, Post-traumatic stress disorder in adolescence, Trauma and juvenile delinquency


Violent crime is a significant economic (Corso, Mercy, Simon, Finkelstein, and Miller, 2007) and public health problem (Krug, Mercy, Dahlberg, and Zwi, 2002) in the United States. Although adults commit the bulk of this nation's violent crime, juveniles contribute significantly to violent crime in the United States; juveniles committed twelve percent of all violent crimes in 2004 (Snyder, 2006). Although there are many individual and family characteristics that predispose juveniles to commit violent acts (Farrington, 1989; Howard and Jenson, 1999; Saner and Ellickson, 1996; Sherline, Skipper, and Broadhead, 1994; Stone and Dover, 2007), a potentially significant influence on later violence is childhood maltreatment (Rivera and Widom, 1990). The aim of this study was to examine the maltreatment histories of 78 non-violent, incarcerated youth (e.g., drugs, public disorderly conduct) and 59 incarcerated youth who admitted to both violent (e.g., purposefully attacking someone, gang fight) and non-violent crimes from 6 treatment facilities in a Midwestern state. Is there a difference in the maltreatment histories of violent and non-violent offenders? Using t tests, violent youth reported significantly greater frequency of physical neglect (t= 4.67, p<.001) and sexual abuse (t=2.72, p=.008), and a higher total score on the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire (CTQ) (t=2.82, p=.006). This contradicts past literature (Capaldi and Patterson, 1996; Farrington, 1991; Happasalo and Hamalainen, 1996) and suggests that there may be more differences in the amount of maltreatment experienced by violent and non-violent offenders than previously thought.




60 p. Thesis (M.S.W.)--Smith College School for Social Work, Northampton, Mass., 2009. Includes bibliographical references (p. 53-60)