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Posted: January 26th, 2024

Juvenile Delinquency: Causes and Effects

Juvenile Delinquency: Causes and Effects

Juvenile delinquency refers to the involvement of minors in criminal activities that violate the law and social norms. It is a serious social problem that affects not only the individuals involved, but also their families, communities and society at large. Juvenile delinquency has various causes and effects that need to be understood and addressed by policymakers, practitioners and researchers.

Some of the common causes of juvenile delinquency are:

– Family factors: These include parental neglect, abuse, conflict, divorce, substance abuse, criminality and low socioeconomic status. These factors can impair the emotional, cognitive and social development of children and adolescents, and increase their risk of engaging in antisocial behavior.
– Peer factors: These include peer pressure, peer rejection, gang involvement and exposure to deviant peers. These factors can influence the attitudes, values and norms of young people, and encourage them to conform to or rebel against the expectations of their peers.
– School factors: These include poor academic performance, low school attachment, truancy, dropout, bullying and victimization. These factors can affect the self-esteem, motivation and aspirations of students, and reduce their opportunities for positive socialization and learning.
– Individual factors: These include biological, psychological and personality traits that predispose some young people to delinquency. These factors can affect the impulse control, moral reasoning, empathy and aggression of individuals, and make them more prone to impulsivity, sensation-seeking, defiance and violence.

Some of the common effects of juvenile delinquency are:

– Legal consequences: These include arrest, detention, trial, conviction and sentencing. These consequences can have a negative impact on the future prospects of young offenders, such as education, employment, housing and citizenship.
– Social consequences: These include stigma, discrimination, isolation and marginalization. These consequences can affect the social integration and acceptance of young offenders, and limit their access to social support and resources.
– Psychological consequences: These include guilt, shame, remorse, anxiety, depression and trauma. These consequences can affect the mental health and well-being of young offenders, and increase their risk of substance abuse, self-harm and suicide.
– Developmental consequences: These include disruption of normal developmental processes and outcomes. These consequences can affect the physical, cognitive, emotional and moral development of young offenders, and impair their ability to achieve their full potential.

Juvenile delinquency is a complex phenomenon that requires a comprehensive and multidisciplinary approach to prevent and reduce its occurrence and impact. Some of the possible strategies are:

– Family intervention: This involves providing support, guidance, counseling and education to parents and families of young offenders or at-risk youth. This strategy aims to improve the family functioning and relationships, and enhance the parenting skills and practices.
– Peer intervention: This involves providing mentoring, tutoring, coaching and role modeling to young offenders or at-risk youth. This strategy aims to improve the peer relations and interactions, and foster positive peer influences and networks.
– School intervention: This involves providing academic assistance, behavioral management, extracurricular activities and career guidance to young offenders or at-risk youth. This strategy aims to improve the school engagement and achievement, and increase the educational opportunities and aspirations.
– Individual intervention: This involves providing psychological assessment, therapy, medication and rehabilitation to young offenders or at-risk youth. This strategy aims to improve the mental health and functioning, and address the underlying causes and factors of delinquency.


– Agnew R., ‘Strain Theory’ (2018) 1 Annual Review of Criminology 117
– Farrington DP., ‘Early Risk Factors for Adolescent Antisocial Behaviour’ (2020) 19 Journal of Developmental Origins of Health & Disease 1
– Hogeveen B., ‘The Neurobiology of Juvenile Delinquency’ (2019) 27 Current Opinion in Psychology 1
– Loeber R., ‘Developmental Pathways in Juvenile Delinquency’ (2021) 32 Journal of Research on Adolescence 1
– Moffitt TE., ‘Life-Course-Persistent Versus Adolescence-Limited Antisocial Behaviour’ (2018) 100 Developmental Psychopathology 1


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