Multiple Pathways to Juvenile Recidivism: Examining Parental Drug and Mental Health Problems, and Markers of Neuropsychological Deficits Among Serious Juvenile Offenders [2017]

The current study examines multiple pathways to antisocial behavior involving neurobiologically based measures and indicators of executive functioning in the interest of informing treatment and intervention services for the deepest end juvenile justice placements. Specifically, using a statewide, multiyear sample of over 11,000 male juvenile offenders completing residential commitment placements, we employ structural equation modeling (SEM) to examine whether parental drug, alcohol, and mental health problems have a direct effect on neurocognitive deficits (as measured by formal Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder [ADHD], or formal Conduct Disorder [CD] diagnoses) and temperamental deficits (as measured by effortful control and negative emotionality), which in turn are examined for their direct effects on recidivism. Results show that parental problems were associated with an increased likelihood of formal ADHD diagnosis as well increased negative emotionality among youth. Furthermore, ADHD and temperamental deficits (both effortful control and negative emotionality) were significantly related to continued offending. These findings may be helpful in treatment planning, targeting of intervention, and discussions of primary and secondary prevention efforts.

Michael T. Baglivio, Kevin T. Wolff, Alex R. Piquero, Matt DeLisi, Michael G. Vaughn

Criminal Justice and Behavior, Vol 44, Issue 8, 2017