Epidemiological surveys have provided key information about the prevalence and degree of seriousness at different ages of a wide array of problem behaviors such as delinquency, substance use, early sexual involvement, and mental health disorders. Knowledge of the extent of these problems and changes in their course over time is important. In its absence, interventions and health planning in general can be difficult. Understanding which risk and protective factors are relevant to which problem behaviors is also essential for the formulation of theories that constitute the basis of intervention.
This book draws on the results of the major Pittsburgh Youth Study complemented by follow-up tracking of juvenile court records for more than six years, to address the following questions:
*What is the prevalence and age of onset of delinquency, substance use, and early sexual behavior for three samples of boys age 8, 11, and 14? What are the average mental health problems for these ages? How strong are the relationships among these problem behaviors in each of the samples?
*Which variables best explain individual differences among the boys in their manifestations of delinquency, substance use, early sexual behavior, and mental health problems? To what extent do explanatory factors vary with age? How accurately can boys with different outcomes be identified by risk scores based on hierarchical multiple regressions?
*To what extent are explanatory factors associated with one outcome that are also associated with other outcomes? Are explanatory factors that are especially characteristic of a multiproblem group of boys--who display many different problem behaviors--different from explanatory factors associated with boys with few problems?
*Do the results fit a general theory of juvenile problem behaviors, or is a differentiated theory more applicable?
"It is a thorough scientific study which would be of most interest to other academics and researchers. The depth of material that is provided is of great interest….[This book] is of relevance to policy-makers and politicians who want to understand what leads young people to become anti-social and develop mental ill health so that services can be targeted accordingly. Students will find it invaluable and practitioners can use it to enhance their research base."
—Labour Campaign for Criminal Justice Newsletter
Contents: Preface. Introduction: Juvenile Delinquency, Substance Use, Sexual Behavior, and Mental Health Problems. Data-Collection Procedures. Measurement Instruments and Constructs. Prevalence, Frequency, and Onset. Explanatory Factors for Delinquency. Explanatory Factors for Substance Use. Explanatory Factors for Sexual Intercourse. Explanatory Factors for Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity and Conduct Problems. Explanatory Factors for Physical Aggression and Covert Behaviors. Explanatory Factors for Depressed Mood and Shy/Withdrawn Behavior. Explanatory Factors for Multiple Risk and Multiple Problem Boys. Summary and Conclusions. Methodological Appendix.