Chapter 2: Sharing Information Is an
OJJDP Priority


Causes and Correlates Research Program

OJJDP's longitudinal study, the Program of Research on the Causes and Correlates of Delinquency, continues to contribute new information to help the field answer the question, What causes a juvenile to commit delinquent acts? Since OJJDP began funding the program in 1986, researchers at three project sites have interviewed 4,000 juveniles at regular intervals, recording their lives in detail. The program is a milestone because it is the largest shared measurement approach ever achieved in delinquency research. Research findings to date indicate that preventing the onset of delinquency requires accurate identification of the risk factors that increase the likelihood of delinquent behavior and the protective factors that enhance positive adolescent development. Findings from this research contributed significantly to the development of the Comprehensive Strategy and other OJJDP program initiatives.

Researchers examined a number of issues during the past 2 years, including risk factors for teenage fatherhood; patterns of illegal gun carrying among young, urban males; factors associated with early sexual activity among urban adolescents; drug use; impact of family changes on adolescent development; and neighborhood, individual, and social risk factors for serious juvenile offenders.

In keeping with its commitment to disseminate information to the field, OJJDP began a publication series in 1997 that presents the most notable findings from the Causes and Correlates of Delinquency research program. Epidemiology of Serious Violence, the first OJJDP Bulletin in this series, answers basic questions about the varying levels of involvement in violent acts according to age, sex, and ethnicity and recommends a public health model of prevention, treatment, and control.

In the Wake of Childhood Maltreatment explores the connections between childhood maltreatment and subsequent problem behaviors. The findings are particularly valuable because they come from a population sample that allowed researchers to examine how maltreated youth differ from the general population. Both publications are available from JJC.

OJJDP's grantees for this project are the University of Colorado at Boulder, the University of Pittsburgh, and the University at Albany, State University of New York.

I just received you publication in the Wake of Childhood Maltreatment and I want to express to you my gratitude. I help to define 14- and 15-year-old kids who have been charged with violent felonies. In doing this work I quickly found that what these kids have done can only be properly understood in the context of their very difficult family situations, which often includes abuse and neglect. Since these kids are seen merely as "bad" by the judge and the assistant district attorney, I had been looking for a study to bolster my argument that many of them deserve to benefit from a nonjail sentence. Your study is exactly what I needed. So in a nutshell, thank you so much.

Forensic Social Worker
New York, NY

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OJJDP Annual Report August 1998