Revitalizing Profiles of Runaways: A Latent Class Analysis of Delinquent Runaway Youth
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Many runaway youth experience an overabundance of negative life events before, during, and after running away from caregivers. In order to better understand, prevent, and treat adolescent runaways based upon the unique experiences they endure, researchers have created typologies of runaway youth. Building on previous research, this study developed a statistical typology of runaway youth offenders using a sample of 29,204 runaway youth referred to the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice. Based upon key predictors and features of adolescent runaways including abuse, trauma, antisocial peers, delinquency, mental illness, school problems, and more, a series of latent class analysis models indicate that five sub-types of runaways exist within three larger behavioral/feature domains. These results suggest that runaways are a heterogeneous group with highly unique experiences and risk factors that occur before and after the runaway experience. In addition, grouping of runaways based solely upon motivation, individual characteristics, victimization, or offending is too narrow of a perspective.
KeywordsRunaways Latent class analysis Typology Profile Youth offenders
The authors would like to thank the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice (FDJJ) for the continued support and opportunity to work together on research aimed at helping young people achieve a safe, healthy, and prosperous future.
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