This bulletin presents findings on the relationship between childhood maltreatment and subsequent adolescent problem behaviors as determined by the Rochester Youth Development Study.
The Rochester study considered several domains of adolescent problem behavior, using a general population sample. Problem areas measured include moderate, serious, and violent delinquency; teen pregnancy; drug use; low academic achievement; and mental health problems. The sample of 1,000 youths (75 percent boys and 25 percent girls) was drawn from public school students in the seventh and eighth grades in Rochester, N.Y., in the spring of 1988. The sample was stratified to overrepresent proportionally those students considered at high risk for delinquency and drug use, based on both gender and residency in high-crime neighborhoods. All data analyses were statistically weighted to represent the general cohort of seventh and eighth graders in the Rochester public schools. Data were collected from the public schools, police department, Department of Social Services, and other agencies that had contact with the subjects. Overall, the findings show that having a history of childhood maltreatment serious enough to warrant official intervention by Child Protective Services increases the likelihood of problems during adolescent development. Subjects with a history of maltreatment were more likely to engage in serious and violent delinquency, use drugs, perform poorly in school, display symptoms of mental illness, and become pregnant. Childhood maltreatment is associated with an increased risk of at least 25 percent for each of these outcomes. 5 tables, 3 figures, and 24 references
Date Published: August 1, 1997