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Family Disruption and Delinquency
(NCJ 178285) October 1999
OJJDP Youth Development Series, Bulletin, 6 page(s)
Thornberry, T. P., Smith, C. A., Rivera, C., Huizinga, D., Stouthamer-Loeber, M.
Examines the impact that multiple changes in family structure have on an adolescent's risk of serious problem behavior. Research teams in Rochester, NY; Denver, CO; and Pittsburgh, PA, interviewed 4,000 youth and their caretakers to analyze the prevalence of delinquent behaviors and drug use and the number of family transitions the youth had experienced. The researchers found that these young people had faced a substantial number of family transitions, which can result in decreased financial security and increased stress and conflict. In Rochester and Denver, the number of transitions had a significant effect on delinquency and drug use; the Pittsburgh data showed the same trend, although not at a statistically significant level.
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