Child Maltreatment and Offending Behavior Gender-Specific Effects and Pathways

Topitzes, J., Mersky, J.P., Reynolds, A. (2011). Child maltreatment and offending behavior: Gender-specific effects and pathways. Criminal Justice and Behavior.


This study assessed the association between child maltreatment (ages 0–11) and offending behavior within gender-specific models.


Prospectively collected data, including official measures of maltreatment and offending, were derived from the Chicago Longitudinal Study, a panel study of 1,539 low-income minority participants.


Multivariate probit analyses revealed that maltreatment significantly predicted delinquency for males but not females yet forged a significant relation to adult crime for both genders. Exploratory, confirmatory, and comparative analyses suggested that mechanisms linking maltreat-ment to adult crime primarily differed across gender. For males, childhood-era externalizing behavior and school commitment along with adolescent-era socioemotional skills, delinquency, and educational attainment explained the maltreatment-crime nexus. For females, childhood-era parent factors along with adolescent indicators of externalizing behavior, cognitive performance, mobility, and educational attainment partially mediated the maltreatment–crime relation.


Implications of results were explored.

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