Texas Tech study links childhood trauma and social support to juvenile crime
Nearly a million juveniles were arrested last year, according to the U.S Department of Justice.
In recent weeks, multiple crimes and shootings involving juveniles have occurred in the Lubbock area, and a new study indicated a number of reasons may be linked to their violence.
Texas Tech doctoral student Faith Scanlon, the author of this research study, said this behavior is formed during childhood.
"Experiencing a childhood trauma is linked to later delinquency and incarceration in adolescence and adulthood. So making sure that we intervene before the criminal justice and delinquency involvement happens can be really important for reducing adolescent and adulthood criminal justice involvement," Scanlon said.
Her study found children who have experienced three or more traumatic events are four times more likely to be arrested by or after age 18.
For those who experienced this trauma without a mentor, the odds jump to seven times more likely.
"Having a mentor during young adulthood can help prevent or buffer that link. So having a mentor can reduce the likelihood of criminal justice involvement for kids who have been traumatized," Scanlon said.
Scanlon said whether it is in the home or at school, early intervention can be the difference in a child's trajectory in adulthood.
"This study provides evidence that teachers, counselors, primary caregivers, physicians, or anybody like that should be noting when kids might be acting out or having experienced trauma because they might benefit most from those protected interventions like having a mentor," Scanlon said.