Prevention of Criminal Offending: The Intervening and Protective Effects of Education for Aggressive Youth [2019]

Children from poor neighbourhoods showing early aggressive behaviour are at risk for criminal offending. The role of education as a mediator, neighbourhood disadvantage and aggression as moderators for criminal offending were examined in a lower-income, community sample (n = 3,521; 48% males), across a 40-year period from childhood to mid-adulthood. Educational attainment accounted for 15–59% of the effect from childhood risk factors. Aggression was found to be a moderator such that aggressive children with low education had the highest odds of criminal offending. A protective effect was found where aggressive children who managed to obtain more education had reduced odds of offending. Research conceptualizing education as a ‘control’ variable does not address its role in the processes leading to criminal offending.

Kathleen Kennedy-Turner, Lisa A Serbin, Dale M Stack, Daniel J Dickson, Jane E Ledingham, Alex E Schwartzman
The British Journal of Criminology, Volume 60, Issue 3, May 2020