• Child sexual abuse and the subsequent adolescent sexual, family planning, and fertility patterns of low-income women

      Castle-Young, Brenda G.; Crymes, Joseph T. (1992)
      This study compares the adolescent sexual behaviors, fertility patterns and family planning behaviors of low socioeconomic, single parent women who reported a history of child sexual abuse (N = 38) with those who did not (N = 437). All questions on sexual behaviors, family planning behaviors, and fertility patterns were taken verbatim from the National Survey of Family Growth Cycle 3, (1981) from the National Center on Health Statistics. The data for this study was gathered in a survey conducted from September 1984 to June 1985. This secondary analysis of 475 cases began with a simple bivariate analysis of CSA related to each of the hypothesized outcomes. Subsequently, for each hypothesized outcome a regression analysis was conducted which included child sexual abuse (CSA) and the control variables race, age at time of interview, years of school achieved, and parenting support. The findings revealed that women who reported CSA had their first intercourse at an earlier age, had more sexual partners, had less committed relationships, had a greater number of live births, and were less likely to have had an abortion than women who reported CSA. However, there was inadequate support for the hypotheses which predicted differences between the two groups on age at first live birth, contraception patterns, opinion of responsibility for contraception, or percent of unwanted live births. Additionally, several of the situational factors had impact on some of these behavioral outcomes. Increased frequency of CSA increased the number of sexual partners, decreased the use of contraception, and increased the percent of unwanted live births. As the severity of CSA increased, the age at first intercourse was younger. The earlier age that CSA began and the greater the number of perpetrators, the greater the number of sexual partners that were reported. The greater the number of perpetrators, the less likely a CSA victim was to use contraceptives between first intercourse and first pregnancy. If the perpetrator was a family member, opinion of self-responsibility for contraception decreased. These consequences of CSA likely lead to decreased life chances and serious health problems.
    • The effect of child maltreatment on juvenile delinquency among a cohort of low-income urban males

      Lemmon, John Howe; Crymes, Joseph T. (1996)
      Over the last quarter century there has been a steady increase in child maltreatment and juvenile delinquency. The study explores this relationship by examining how dimensions of maltreatment (presence, type, frequency, and severity) affect dimensions of delinquency (initiation, frequency, chronicity, severity, and age at onset). The study also examines the effect of individual, family life, and agency intervention factors on the initiation of delinquency among maltreated children. Until recently, much of the research concerning the maltreatment-delinquency relationship was equivocal. However, recent studies employing prospective, comparison group designs have produced evidence suggesting that a causal relationship exists. The study improves the comparison group methodology by employing a non-concurrent, prospective, cohort design which identified subjects at risk to both maltreatment and delinquency, but who were not necessarily abused, neglected, or delinquent. Controls were placed on key variables including race, gender, socio-economic status, and geographic location which effectively isolated the maltreatment effect. The selection criteria facilitated a comparison group design that featured and applied these controls to the entire cohort. Six hundred and thirty-two (N = 632) males, born in 1975, living in one of Pennsylvania's ten largest cities, and residing in low-income families were selected from the Office of Income Maintenance and tracked through the state's children and youth and juvenile justice systems. The entire cohort was employed in tests of the initiation of delinquency while those subjects with one or more referrals (N = 352) were used in tests on the continuation of delinquency. Each dimension of maltreatment significantly affected the initiation and continuation of youth crime. Most tests produced observed significance levels at p<.0001 with explained variances as high as nineteen percent. Neglect was found to be a particularly strong indicator of delinquency. Similar patterns were found on all dimensions suggesting that maltreatment produces its strongest effect on the frequency and persistence of delinquency with less or an effect on severity. With the selection criteria designed to identify youths presenting high risk characteristics the significantly higher delinquency scores exhibited by maltreated youths provide compelling evidence of it's effect on delinquency. The findings also indicate that the relationship of race to maltreatment and delinquency is spurious. Among the maltreatment group (N = 267), five characteristics: the presence of an abused sibling, risk taking behaviors, pre-delinquency, school conduct problems, and academic retention, produced a probability of delinquency of over 98%. Children and youth placement slightly reduced the probability suggesting that if certain interventions are provided and high risk characteristics are eliminated, maltreated boys have a better chance of conforming to the law.;The results have disparate implications. On one hand, maltreatment affected the delinquency of low-income, inner city, predominantly minority, adolescent males. On the other hand, the absence of maltreatment affected conformity among the same group. One could reasonably conjecture that the connection between maltreatment and delinquency is caused by the lack of parent-child attachment. If this is so, then programs aimed at building family bonds would reduce delinquency. Neglected boys appear to be a particularly high risk group and should be targeted for delinquency prevention services. However, the state of theory development is crude. Now that a causal connection has been empirically established efforts should be made to test theories that explain the relationship.
    • An exploratory study of family structure and drug trafficking among 11-17 year old public housing residents

      Okundaye, Joshua Nosakhare; Crymes, Joseph T. (1996)
      This exploratory study generated hypotheses about why some urban African American adolescents (ages 11-17) become involved trafficking (selling, holding, delivering) drugs when most of their peers do not. In their communities, drug trafficking rather than illicit drug use appears to be the first exposure of many youths to the "drug scene". This study describes neighborhood drug trafficking activities and uses Structural Family Theory concepts to explore the nature of the relationships and communication patterns within their families. Using qualitative research methods and an interview guide, the study interviewed twenty youths and it is upon their words that twenty-two hypotheses were derived. Research regarding adolescent involvement in drug trafficking has been limited and is in a very early stage of development. Importantly, while many of the available studies report the early involvement of these youths in drug trafficking, many also indicate that most of the youths are not directly involved. The scientific literature and popular media also suggest that variations in family structure (specifically households headed by single females) influence risk behaviors among these youths. However, the role that many of these female heads of households and other family factors play with regards to why many youths do not become involved in drug trafficking has not been adequately explored. The findings suggest that structural factors and family processes are not the only or even the predominant cause of drug trafficking among these youths. The review of family structure and delinquency literature, and responses from the youths suggest that family structural factors are likely to provide some of the explanation. However, it appears that the way the single parent home has been conceptualized and organized as a sociological variable will lead to limited definitive conclusions if subjected to rigorous and sophisticated research. The findings also suggest that although family factors are extremely important, the etiology of this problem appears to be extremely complex and multifaceted. As some of the studies reviewed indicate, this study proposes that no single causative factor can provide an explanation for drug trafficking among youths. Implications of these ideas for social work are considered and discussed.