Female Juvenile Offenders: Differentiating Mechanisms of Antisocial Behavior by Neighborhood Disadvantage and Race

Chauhan, Preeti, Department of Psychology, University of Virginia
Reppucci, N., Department of Psychology, University of Virginia

The current study examined the impact of violence exposure and neighborhood disadvantage on antisocial behavior among Black (n = 69) and White (n = 53) female juvenile offenders. Using a multi-method research design, the study assessed neighborhood disadvantage through census level data, violence exposure through self report, and antisocial behavior through self report and official records. Self report of antisocial behavior was assessed at time of incarceration (Wave I) and post-release (Wave II). Results indicated that Black girls were significantly more likely than White girls to live in disadvantaged neighborhoods, but both reported similar levels of violence exposure. In terms of outcomes, no racial differences were observed with regard to self report of antisocial behavior but Black girls were significantly more likely to get rearrested for non-violent crimes. A divergent pattern of associations emerged; witnessing violence and peer abuse were indicative of Wave I antisocial behavior whereas age and time at risk were predictive of Wave II antisocial behavior. Neighborhood disadvantage was only associated with rearrest for non-violent crimes. Race specific pathways were explored using multiple group analyses. Parental physical abuse was associated with Wave II violent behaviors and recidivism for White girls whereas witnessing violence was associated with Wave II delinquent behaviors for Black girls. Results suggest that contextual characteristics play a role in offending among female juvenile offenders generally and Black female juvenile offenders, specifically. Race specific risk models warrant further investigation, and may help lawmakers and clinicians in addressing racial disparities in the justice system.

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PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
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