What Can Help? Examining Levels of Substance (Non)use as a Protective Factor in the Effect of ACEs on Crime [2017]

Although the deleterious impact of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) on offending has been established, less is known about the possible protective factors that may buffer this relationship. Using a sample of over 28,000 adjudicated delinquents from a large southern state, the current study investigated the role of substance (non)use on the relationship between ACEs and recidivism and whether these results differed by race/ethnicity and sex. Results illustrate that ACEs increase the likelihood of recidivism among youth who engaged in moderate-to-high substance use. However, this effect was not found among youth who reported little-to-no substance use. Furthermore, these effects were largely consistent across race/ethnicity and sex. Policy implications of this buffering effect are discussed as well as limitations and directions for future research.

Jessica M. Craig, Jonathan Intravia, Kevin T. Wolff, Michael T. Baglivio
Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice, Vol 17, Issue 1, 2019