Date of Award

9-24-2009

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Criminology

First Advisor

Rosemary L. Gido, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

David L. Myers, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

John A. Lewis, Ph.D.

Fourth Advisor

Claire J. Dandeneau, Ph.D.

Abstract

Prior limited research has focused on the Graduation Hypothesis and its ability to predict future behavior. The recent growth in the number of juvenile arrests for violent offenses creates a need to be vigilant of childhood behaviors that could escalate into more violent behavior. The present research, utilizing secondary data from the Project on Housing Development in Chicago Neighborhoods (PHDCN) longitudinal study, focused on the degree to which the Graduation Hypothesis could predict adolescent delinquency and aggression based on the commission of childhood animal cruelty, hyperactivity, bed wetting, delinquency, aggression, alcohol/drug usage, and poor school work. This task was only partially accomplished because of the small number of children who indicated they committed animal cruelty and used alcohol/drugs. In addition, an attempt was made to determine whether female fire setters progress into adolescent delinquency and aggression. However, again, due to the few female fire setters in the sample, this analysis could not be performed. This present research did reveal information on the children and their families in the PHDCN with regard to several significant relationships between adolescent delinquency and aggression. It was discovered that gender, hyperactivity, familial dysfunction, childhood delinquency, and childhood aggression were significantly related to adolescent delinquency. In addition, childhood hyperactivity and aggression, along with familial dysfunction were significantly related to adolescent aggression within this sample. These statistically significant findings provide some insight on childhood behaviors and familial situations which could lead to future delinquency and aggression.

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