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


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 resultsshowed 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.

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Corresponding author

Correspondence to Dennis R. Moore.

Additional information

This study was supported by grant #MH-29757 from the Crime and Delinquency Section of NIMH. The Oregon Social Learning Center is an affiliate of the Wright Institute, Berkeley, California. The authors would like to acknowledge the feedback and support given by M. S. Forgatch, G. R. Patterson, and J. B. Reid in preparation of this manuscript.

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Moore, D.R., Chamberlain, P. & Mukai, L.H. Children at risk for delinquency: A follow-up comparison of aggressive children and children who steal. J Abnorm Child Psychol 7, 345–355 (1979).

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  • Young Child
  • Normative Sample
  • Parental Report
  • Adolescent Child
  • Aggressive Child