Children at risk for delinquency: a follow-up comparison of aggressive children and children who steal

J Abnorm Child Psychol. 1979 Sep;7(3):345-55. doi: 10.1007/BF00916544.


This study compared the follow-up incidence of court-recorded nonstatus offenses for three groups of adolescent children. These children had been seen 2 to 9 years earlier for problems with aggression in the home (N = 21), for stealing problems (N = 25), or for normative comparisons (N = 14). The results showed that 77% of the children with stealing problems had court-recorded offenses. This was significantly higher than the aggressive children, whose rate did not differ from the normative sample. These findings suggested that young aggressive children were not at risk for adolescent court contact. Instead, it was the young child with identified stealing problems who was highly likely to become an official delinquent. It also appeared that parental reports of stealing events constituted a predictive measure of later criminal acts.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Aggression / psychology*
  • Antisocial Personality Disorder / psychology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Juvenile Delinquency / psychology*
  • Risk
  • Theft*