Self-Reported Delinquency

The Self-Reported Delinquency (Elliot, Huizinga, Heton, 1985) was used in the Pittsburgh Youth Study.


The Self-Reported Delinquency measure (Elliot, Huizinga, Heton, 1985) was used in the Pittsburgh Youth Study. Self-report of delinquency instruments are well known and frequently used. Their advantages and disadvantages have been discussed in the literature (Huizinga and Elliott, 1986; Klien, 1988). In this measure participants describe their delinquent activities, tapping the areas of property damage, theft, assault, and substance use. For each type of delinquent act, the participant is asked whether he/she ever committed it, how many times in the past year, if others were involved, and if he/she was under the influence of alcohol or drugs while committing it.

The following delinquency scales were created by taking the mean across items. The items capture whether or not the child committed certain delinquent behaviors:

  • offense-general category scales (status offenses and interpersonal violence)
  • summary scales (index offenses and general delinquency)

The analyst should be cautioned that the scales are extremely skewed towards the lower part of the scale, because of the low frequency of the occurrence. This is true for the method of scoring as calculated here, but is even more exaggerated if the second question for each item, frequency of events is used. The frequency of most delinquent behaviors are highly skewed with higher variances for offenders. If frequency of events scores are used, the analyst should be advised that there are outliers present and each item should be inspected and evaluated for them. For study of whether the student was associated with somebody else while committing the offense, or under substance influence, the analyst should refer to the individual items.

Dataset Names

Raw Dataset Name: CxAD
Scored Dataset Name: SRDySCc


Delinquent Behaviors, Weapons, Theft, Alcohol Use, Vandalism, Fire Setting, Fraud, Assault, Sexual Relations, Runaways