Developmental sequences of girls’ delinquent behavior.

Huizinga, D., Miller, S., & Conduct Problems Prevention Research Group. (2013). Developmental sequences of girls’ delinquent behavior. Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

Abstract: This study combined data from the Fast Track project and the Denver Youth Survey to examine girls’ developmental patterns of delinquency. Findings demonstrated substantial consistency across epidemiological, temporal, and developmental sequence analyses, and across the two samples. Key findings regarding the types and extent of girls’ delinquent behaviors include: a) most girls were involved in delinquency at some point; b) they reported a wide range of offending behaviors; c) most girls did not offend frequently; d) some girls displayed a versatile pattern of offending; and e) they frequently used alcohol or drugs. Key findings regarding the developmental sequences of girls’ delinquency include: a) girls began offending with a range of different behaviors; b) they began and stopped offending at different ages; c) some girls reported persistent patterns of delinquency, whereas others reported more transient patterns; d) there were diverse patterns of offending over time; and e) girls did not typically become involved in serious delinquency over a long period of time. Implications of these findings include: a) service providers should be concerned about girls’ delinquency; b) no single or dominant delinquency pathway occurs for all girls; c) interventions should consider the offending patterns of girls; d) preventive interventions targeting delinquency in childhood should include both boys and girls; and e) service providers should systematically assess and treat substance use among delinquent girls.