Are the Effects of Adverse Childhood Experiences on Violent Recidivism Offense-Specific? [2020]

A growing body of literature has found that exposure to child maltreatment and other forms of family dysfunction, often conceptualized as Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), are associated with delinquent and criminal behavior. Recent research has indicated that the effects of ACEs on offending may differ not only by offense type but also by sex and race/ethnicity. However, no study to-date has investigated the effects of ACEs on violent-specific recidivism, nor how these effects differ by sex- and racial/ethnic-specific subgroups. The current study seeks to address this gap by examining a large, diverse sample of serious delinquents institutionalized in a large southern state. The results indicated that while ACEs increased the likelihood of being rearrested for any violent felony, the effects were particularly strong for domestic violence and sexual offenses among white females and minority males. A discussion of these findings are presented, along with the limitations of the study.

Jessica M. Craig PhD, Haley R. Zettler, PhD
Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice, July 9, 2020