Childhood Victimization and Delinquency, Adult Criminality, and Violent Criminal Behavior in a Large Urban County in the Northwest United States, 1980-1997 (ICPSR 3548)
Principal Investigator(s): English, Diane J., State of Washington, Department of Social and Health Services. Office of Children's Administration Research; Widom, Cathy Spatz, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. New Jersey Medical School
This research project was designed as a replication and extension of earlier research on how childhood victimization relates to delinquency, adult criminality, and violent criminal behavior (CHILD ABUSE, NEGLECT, AND VIOLENT CRIMINAL BEHAVIOR IN A MIDWEST METROPOLITAN AREA OF THE UNITED STATES, 1967-1988 (ICPSR 9480)). The study consisted of a sample of abused and neglected children who were made dependents of the Superior Court of a large urban county in the Northwest between 1980 and 1984, and a matched control group of children. Dependency records were obtained from the county court house. Control match criteria were collected from Department of Health birth records data. Type of abuse/neglect precipitating the dependency petition was collected and coded using a modified version of the Maltreatment Classification Coding Scheme (MCS). Data on juvenile arrests from juvenile court records, including both number and types, were collected for each abused and/or neglected youth and each matched control subject. Adult criminal arrests, excluding routine traffic offenses, for all abused and neglected subjects and matched controls were collected from local, county, state, and federal law enforcement sources. A subset of arrests consisting of violent crimes was developed as a key outcome of interest. Major types of variables included in this study are demographics, criminal records, dependency records (only for those subjects abused/neglected as children), including type and severity of child abuse/neglect, and census socioeconomic variables. Several derived variables were also included.
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English, Diana J., and Cathy Spatz Widom. CHILDHOOD VICTIMIZATION AND DELINQUENCY, ADULT CRIMINALITY, AND VIOLENT CRIMINAL BEHAVIOR IN A LARGE URBAN COUNTY IN THE NORTHWEST UNITED STATES, 1980-1997. ICPSR version. Seattle, WA: State of Washington Department of Social and Health Services, Office of Children's Administration Research [producer], 2002. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2003. https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR03548.v1
Persistent URL: https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR03548.v1
This study was funded by:
- United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. National Institute of Justice (97-IJ-CX-0017)
Scope of Study
Geographic Coverage: United States
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Study Purpose: This research project was designed as a replication and extension of earlier research on how childhood victimization relates to delinquency, adult criminality, and violent criminal behavior (CHILD ABUSE, NEGLECT, AND VIOLENT CRIMINAL BEHAVIOR IN A MIDWEST METROPOLITAN AREA OF THE UNITED STATES, 1967-1988 (ICPSR 9480)). This study had four major goals: (1) to document the prevalence of delinquency, adult criminality, and violence in a new cohort of abused and/or neglected children and matched controls, representing a different geographic area (Northwest), time period (1980s), and ethnic composition (to include Native American youth) as compared to earlier studies, (2) to examine the extent to which there are gender and ethnic differences in the relationship between childhood victimization and crime and violent offending, (3) to determine the extent to which different types of maltreatment (physical and sexual abuse and neglect) are associated with increased risk of subsequent delinquent, adult, and violent criminal behavior, and (4) to examine the extent to which placement experiences mediate delinquent and criminal consequences.
Study Design: This study consisted of a sample of substantiated cases of abused and neglected children who were made dependents of the Superior Court of a large urban county in the Northwest between 1980 and 1984, and a matched control group of children. Control match criteria were collected from Department of Health birth records data. Dependency records were obtained from the county court house. Type of abuse/neglect precipitating the dependency petition was coded using a modified version of the Maltreatment Classification Coding Scheme (MCS). The MCS provides a mechanism for classifying maltreatment by subtypes with up to six levels of severity for each maltreatment allegation type. Data on juvenile arrests from juvenile court records, including both number and types, were collected for each abused and/or neglected youth and each matched control subject. Adult criminal arrests, excluding routine traffic offenses, for all abused and neglected subjects and matched controls were collected from local, county, state, and federal law enforcement sources. Each jurisdiction has its own coding system for crimes, so a coding scheme was developed for this study to allow arrest comparisons across jurisdictions. Duplicate charges were removed from the dataset through individual examination of each case and comparison to charges from each data source. It is possible that some crimes were not attributed to an individual due to matching issues, but this was minimized by a thorough examination of each name, other identifying information, and charge.
Sample: All dependency petitions filed between 1980 and 1984 on children aged from birth to 11 years were included in the initial sample. A total of 2,262 dependency petitions were identified as meeting the study criteria. After initial examination, 187 cases were excluded because the case was transferred out of the area, the child died, or the dependency record was not available. Of the remaining 2,075 dependent children, 1,198 were excluded from the study because they either were not born in the state, were not made a dependent in the county of interest, or their dependency record was not located. This left a final group of 877 abused and neglected children. To locate a matched control group, a file of all youth born within the jurisdiction of interest in the same time period as the abuse and neglect group was obtained from the Department of Health (DOH). DOH birth records were searched until each abuse and/or neglect case in the study had a corresponding matched control based on age (within three months), gender, ethnicity, and approximate socioeconomic status. Approximate socioeconomic status matching for the controls was based on birth in the same or similar census tract as the abuse and neglect group. Census tracts were clustered based on median family income, percent on welfare, percent persons below poverty level, percent persons over 25 with a high school diploma, and percent single female head of household. Once a "matched pool" was identified, child abuse and neglect registry records were reviewed in order to exclude any of the matched controls found to have a child abuse and neglect report history from the sample pool. These procedures produced a one-to-one matched control group of 877 cases.
Data were obtained from county court house dependency records for January 1, 1980, through December 31, 1984, from Department of Health birth records data for January 1, 1969, through December 31, 1984, and from the arrest records of local, county, state, and federal law enforcement offices for January 1, 1980, through December 31, 1997. Socioeconomic data were obtained from the United States Census Bureau.
Description of Variables: Demographic variables for all subjects include gender, ethnicity, and age on March 1, 1999. Criminal record variables include age at first offense, number of juvenile and adult offenses, number of charges at different jurisdictional levels, and number and type of offenses. A variable for violent crimes was created and provides counts of arrests for attempted murder, rape and sexual assault, kidnapping, homicide, assault, child abuse, burglary and trespassing, theft and robbery, and vehicular homicide. Dependency record variables, which only apply to subjects abused/neglected as children, include age at dependency, reason for dependency, type of maltreatment, type of order at dependency, reason for resolution of dependency, final disposition, length of dependency, caregiver's relationship to child, caregiver problems at dependency, identified child problems at dependency, whether a child was placed as a result of the dependency, type of placement, length of placement, and whether the child remained in placement at the resolution of dependency. Variables based on MCS are included for several types of maltreatment, and their values reflect the severity of the maltreatment. Types of maltreatment included are physical abuse, which is divided into eight subtypes according to the location of the abuse on the child's body, emotional abuse, which is divided into 26 subtypes, sexual abuse, neglect, which is divided into eight subtypes, including failure to provide food, clothing, shelter, medical treatment, or hygiene, lack of supervision, a poor supervision environment, educational maltreatment, use of an unsuitable substitute caregiver, involving child in illegal activities, and whether the child used drugs/alcohol. Census variables included are census tract in which child was born, population of the census tract, percent of the population under 14 years, percent of households with a single female head, percent of single female heads of household with children, percent of families below the poverty line, percent of African Americans below the poverty line, percent of Native Americans below the poverty line, percent of Asians below the poverty line, mean and median family income, percent of families receiving federal assistance, percent of people over 25 with a high school diploma, and socioeconomic status of the census tract. A number of derived variables are also included.
Extent of Processing: ICPSR data undergo a confidentiality review and are altered when necessary to limit the risk of disclosure. ICPSR also routinely creates ready-to-go data files along with setups in the major statistical software formats as well as standard codebooks to accompany the data. In addition to these procedures, ICPSR performed the following processing steps for this data collection:
- Created online analysis version with question text.
Original ICPSR Release: 2003-05-06
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