Child Indicators Research

, Volume 5, Issue 4, pp 771-788

First online:

Delinquency Among Adolescents with Disabilities

  • Carrie L. ShandraAffiliated withDepartment of Sociology, Hofstra University Email author 
  • , Dennis P. HoganAffiliated withDepartment of Sociology/Population Studies and Training Center, Brown University

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This study expands upon previous research by utilizing nationally representative data and multivariate analyses to examine the relationship between an adolescent’s disability status and their likelihood of engaging in a spectrum of delinquent behaviors through age 16. Logistic regression models of 7,232 adolescents from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997 are used to investigate the association between the presence of a learning disability or emotional condition, chronic health condition, sensory condition, physical disability, or multiple conditions and ten delinquent acts, including violence-related delinquency, property crimes, drug offenses, and arrest. Additional analyses explore differences in delinquency prevalence by more specific types of limiting conditions. Results indicate that adolescents with learning disabilities or emotional conditions are particularly at risk of committing delinquent acts. Findings suggest that disability status is important to consider when examining adolescent delinquency; however, not all youth with disabilities have equal experiences.


Disability Health conditions Delinquency Adolescence Transition to adulthood