Juvenile Risk Factors

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The major developmental risk factors associated with juvenile delinquency and crime come into three broad categories: social, familial, and psychological. Each of these categories includes several subcategories. Social risk factors include poverty, peer rejection/ association with antisocial peers, preschool experiences, after-school care, and school failure. Poverty is one of the strongest predictors of violence in both male and female adolescents (Sampson & Wilson, 1993). This robust connection holds for both offenders and victims. Unemployment or low-income households are often correlated with discrimination, racism, unsafe living conditions, and social isolation (Bartol & Bartol, 2008). It must be kept in mind that poverty is a relative concept affected by ethnicity and cultural background. Poverty is associated with higher levels of parental stress, which is linked to more aggressive models of parenting or child control. Thus, children growing up in these households are possibly led to believe that survival is dependent on being aggressive; also, they identify with these violent parental roles models having limited access to positive adults due to social isolation. This is not a causal relationship, but an association, which could be exacerbated by additional factors such as law enforcement being more punitive with lower socioeconomic class youth. This in turn could perpetuate a cycle of delinquency due to poorer families having less access to protective resources in the way of private clinics; instead, the charged youth is more likely to be institutionalized, thereby being exposed to behavior that is more antisocial. On the other hand, children from more privileged backgrounds may never face the same punitive legal outcomes, despite similar transgressions. Preschool experiences are another social risk factor for later aggression and delinquency. Over

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