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Highlights of Findings From the Pittsburgh Youth Study

NCJ Number
Date Published
Katharine Browning, Ph.D., and Rolf Loeber, Ph.D.
The Pittsburgh Youth Study is a longitudinal study that followed 3 samples totaling 1,517 inner-city males for more than a decade to advance knowledge about how and why males become involved in juvenile delinquency and other problem behaviors.
Participants were initially randomly chosen from students in the first, fourth, and seventh grades. Researchers conducted an initial screening of antisocial behavior to develop a sample with an overrepresentation of youths who had already demonstrated some disruptive behavior. Results revealed a high level of involvement in serious delinquency among the three samples. White and black youths did not differ at age 6, but the prevalence of serious delinquency at age 16 reached 27 percent for black males and 19 percent for white males. The youths generally developed disruptive and delinquent behavior in an orderly, progressive way; less serious problem behaviors preceded more serious problem behaviors. The three developmental pathways began with authority conflict, covert acts such as lying, or overt acts such as minor aggression. Juvenile delinquency was related to individual risk factors such as impulsivity, IQ, and personality; family risk factors, particularly poor supervision; and macro-level risk factors such as receiving public assistance and low socioeconomic status. The probability of delinquency increased as the number of risk factors increased. Summaries of findings of the companion projects, the Denver Youth Survey and the Rochester Youth Development Study, and a report describing all three studies' methods are being developed. Address from which to obtain further information
Date Created: July 30, 2014