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Correlates of self-reported offending in children with a first police contact from distinct socio-demographic and ethnic groups

Author(s): van Domburgh Lieke | Doreleijers Theo | Geluk Charlotte | Vermeiren Robert

Journal: Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health
ISSN 1753-2000

Volume: 5;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 22;
Date: 2011;
Original page

Abstract Background This study aims to identify risk factors for level of offending among childhood offenders from different socio-economic status (SES) neighborhoods and ethnic origins. Method Three groups of childhood first time police arrestees were studied using standardized instruments for individual and parental characteristics: native Dutch offenders from moderate to high SES neighborhoods, native Dutch offenders from low SES neighborhoods, and offenders of non-Western origin from low SES neighborhoods. Results All subgroups showed high rates of externalizing disorders (27.2% to 41.8%) and familial difficulties (25.7% to 50.5%). Few differences between neighborhoods were found in the prevalence and impact of risk factors. However, the impact of some family risk factors on offending seemed stronger in the low SES groups. Regarding ethnical differences, family risk factors were more prevalent among non-Western childhood offenders. However, the association of these factors with level of offending seemed lower in the non-Western low SES group, while the association of some individual risk factors were stronger in the non-Western low SES group. Turning to the independent correlation of risk factors within each of the groups, in the Dutch moderate to high SES group, 23.1% of the variance in level of offending was explained by ADHD and behavioral problems; in the Dutch low SES group, 29.0% of the variance was explained by behavioral problems and proactive aggression; and in the non-Western low SES group, 41.2% of the variance was explained by substance use, sensation seeking, behavioral peer problems, and parental mental health problems. Conclusions Thereby, the study indicates few neighborhood differences in the impact of individual and parental risk factors on offending, while individual and parental risk factors may differ between ethnic groups.

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