Graduation Year

2014

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

Ph.D.

Degree Granting Department

Criminology

Major Professor

Joan A. Reid

Co-Major Professor

Wesley G. Jennings

Keywords

Developmental Trajectories, Life-Course Theory, Nonaggressive Rule-breaking, Physical Aggression

Abstract

Criminological, psychological, and developmental researchers have relentlessly explored behavioral characteristics and juvenile justice outcomes in an effort to establish the most appropriate means of analyzing childhood and adolescent problem behaviors. Cross-discipline, empirical evidence and factor analytic research has consistently identified the presence of two predictive concepts, physical aggression and nonaggressive rule-breaking. Research pertaining to the risk factors and correlates of these two distinct substructures of offending align with theoretically postulated typologies of delinquency and offending as well as the frequently cited patterns of delinquency and offending within reviews of longitudinal research. Using longitudinal data from a sample of 756 at-risk, males and females during late childhood and early adolescence, the present research examined variations in latent trajectories of physical aggression and nonaggressive rule-breaking as well as empirically substantiated risk factors that may influence problem behaviors and juvenile justice involvement. The findings support a 4-class model for both physical aggression and nonaggressive rule-breaking as well as a relationship between supported risk factors and latent class membership. A comprehensive understanding of physical aggression and nonaggressive rule-breaking may provide the basis for targeted, problem-specific strategies aimed at early intervention.

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