Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New “magnifying glass” helps spot delinquency risks

07.05.2014

Drug abuse, acts of rampage – what’s really the matter with kids today? While there are many places to lay blame – family, attitude, peers, school, community – a new study shows that those risks vary in intensity from kid to kid and can be identified.

Scientists at Washington State University and Pennsylvania State University have found a way to spot the adolescents most susceptible to specific risk factors for delinquency. Breaking down a survey of over 30,000 teens, researchers were able to pinpoint five subgroups and the risks for delinquency that were most relevant for each.


WSU’s Brittany Cooper.

The findings were recently published in the Journal of Adolescent Health; the study was funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

The paper was a collaboration between Stephanie Lanza, scientific director, and Bethany Bray, research associate, in the Pennsylvania State University Methodology Center and Brittany Cooper, assistant professor, in the Washington State University department of human development.

Cooper is also a faculty member in WSU’s new program in prevention science. The Ph.D. program is one of the first in the nation focused on developing strategies for drug and alcohol prevention, youth development, obesity prevention and early child care and learning programs.

Individual analysis a new approach

In the current study, Lanza, Cooper and Bray used an innovative type of statistical analysis to uncover hidden delinquency risk subgroups.

Their analysis focused on the individuals instead of the broad-brush technique normally applied to a general population. Both methods evaluate how factors like family, peers, school or community relate to delinquency.

But the broad-brush analysis, said Cooper, “assumes all adolescents are the same. We don’t believe this is the case and felt that the results would vary for different adolescents. We wanted to fine-tune the approach.”

After analyzing a national sample of more than 30,000 typical 10th-grade boys and girls, Cooper said their intuition paid off when the technique acted as a magnifying glass to zoom in on previously undetected risk subgroups.

Persistent problems

Of the five subgroups identified, the smallest—1 percent of the teens—would have been completely overlooked by the broad-brush technique yet accounts for the vast majority of delinquent acts, she said.

“On average, these kids each committed 44 acts of delinquency over the past year,” she said. “This is an extremely high-risk group of kids and the only group where individual antisocial attitudes did not predict delinquency. This was surprising as it usually shows up as a very strong predictive factor.”

“For most kids, there is a normal spike in delinquency during adolescence, but it’s not too serious and they usually grow out of it. For other kids, delinquency seems to take a persistent course … violent behaviors and difficult temperaments show up very early in life and never resolve,” she said. “We’re wondering if the 1 percent might be part of this group.”

Though none of the usual delinquency risk factors stood out for that group, they did clearly define the other subgroups.

Peer, family, community cohesion

The largest—60 percent—could be called the “peer pressure” group. These children were most influenced by peer and individual factors such as antisocial attitudes or socializing with delinquent friends.

Cooper said this confirms past studies and that, for most kids, life-skills training and other school-based programs can be effective in helping them resist peer pressure.

A smaller group—29 percent—included teens who showed widespread risk at the individual, peer, family and school levels.

“This was the only group where family cohesion was an important predictor of delinquency,” Cooper said. “Even if youth in this group are acting out negatively, it’s more about the family system. For these children, we might target strategies toward resolving family conflict issues—such as family-based therapy.”

For 8 percent of the teens, community cohesion factors, such as living in a highly chaotic neighborhood, played the biggest role in delinquency.

“These kids need to feel more connected to the community,” she said. “They need more access to things like basketball tournaments or a safe place to hang out with their friends.”

Better matching services to kids

She said her team’s ultimate goal is to use the study’s nuanced findings to more closely match preventive services, programs and children.

“We have evidence that prevention can have some really impressive long-term benefits,” she said. “Our study takes another step forward by giving hints at what type of intervention might help which type of youth most.

“By targeting resources more efficiently, we can save taxpayer money and hopefully help prevent kids from going down an unhealthy path,” she said.

Contacts:

Brittany Cooper, WSU Department of Human Development, 509-335-2896, brittany.cooper@wsu.edu
Rebecca E. Phillips, WSU University Communications, 509-335-2346, beccap@wsu.edu

Brittany Cooper | Eurek Alert!
Further information:
https://news.wsu.edu/2014/05/06/new-magnifying-glass-helps-spot-delinquency-risks/#.U2nrqWGKDcs

Further reports about: Adolescents Communications RISK STUDY Youth adolescents cohesion glass methods pressure risk strategies study therapy youth

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht The importance of biodiversity in forests could increase due to climate change
17.11.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für integrative Biodiversitätsforschung (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig

nachricht Win-win strategies for climate and food security
02.10.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Frictional Heat Powers Hydrothermal Activity on Enceladus

Computer simulation shows how the icy moon heats water in a porous rock core

Heat from the friction of rocks caused by tidal forces could be the “engine” for the hydrothermal activity on Saturn's moon Enceladus. This presupposes that...

Im Focus: Nanoparticles help with malaria diagnosis – new rapid test in development

The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.

Malaria is caused by parasites transmitted by mosquito bite. The most dangerous form of malaria is malaria tropica. Left untreated, it is fatal in most cases....

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Underwater acoustic localization of marine mammals and vehicles

23.11.2017 | Information Technology

Enhancing the quantum sensing capabilities of diamond

23.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Meadows beat out shrubs when it comes to storing carbon

23.11.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>