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Substance Use and Delinquent Behavior Among Serious Adolescent Offenders
(NCJ 232790) December 2010
OJJDP Pathways to Desistance, Bulletin, 16 page(s)
Mulvey, E.P.; Schubert, C.A.; and Chassin, L.
 
Part of the Pathways to Desistance Study series, this bulletin presents some key findings on the link between adolescent substance use and serious offending. Serious/chronic offenders are much more likely than other juvenile offenders to be substance users and have related disorders. Dispositional factors (sensation seeking, disinhibition, poor affect regulation, stress, depression) can lead to externalizing behaviors such as substance use and criminal activity. Substance use and serious offending fluctuate in similar patterns over time, but no causal relationship has been proven. These behaviors decrease for older adolescents as they learn new coping skills and mature. Studying the factors that help youth desist from these behaviors may reveal avenues for intervention.
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