Journal of Population Economics

, Volume 30, Issue 4, pp 1035–1067

The effect of child maltreatment on illegal and problematic behaviour: new evidence on the ‘cycle of violence’ using twins data

  • Violeta Misheva
  • Dinand Webbink
  • Nicholas G. Martin
Original Paper

Abstract

This paper investigates the effect of physical and sexual child maltreatment on several types of illegal and problematic behaviour. By using variation within pairs of twins, we are able to mitigate concerns about confounding factors from previous studies. Using ordinary least squares and twin fixed effects estimation approaches, we find that child maltreatment has a large effect on illegal and problematic behaviours such as drug abuse, conduct disorders, and crime. The estimated effects suggest an increase of illegal and problematic behaviour between 50 and 100%. Our findings are consistent with the so-called cycle of violence hypothesis.

Keywords

Child maltreatment Problematic behaviour Crime 

JEL Classification

I1 I2 K42 

References

  1. Adams ZW, McCart MR, Zajac K, Danielson CK, Sawyer GK, Saunders BE, Kilpatrick DG (2013) Psychiatric problems and trauma exposure in nondetained delinquent and nondelinquent adolescents. J Clin Child Adolesc Psychol 42(3):323–331CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Aigner DJ (1973) Regression with a binary independent variable subject to errors of observation. J Econ 1:49–60CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Ashenfelter O, Krueger AB (1994) Estimates of the economic return to schooling from a new sample of twins. Am Econ Rev 84(5):1157–1173Google Scholar
  4. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2006). http://www.aihw.gov.au/publication-detail/?id=6442467962&tab=2
  5. Becker G (1968) Crime and punishment: an economic approach. J Polit Econ 76(2):169–217CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Black AD, Berger MC, Scott FA (2000) Bounding parameter estimates with nonclassical measurement error. J Am Stat Assoc 95(451):739–748CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bollinger CR (1996) Bounding mean regressions when a binary regressor is mismeasured. J Econ 73:387–399CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bound J, Solon G (1999) Double trouble: on the value of twins-based estimation of the return to schooling. Econ Educ Rev 18(2):169–182CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Breda B, Corwyn RF (2002) The effect of abuse in childhood and in adolescence on violence among adolescents. Youth Soc 33(39):339–336Google Scholar
  10. Caspi A, Moffitt TE (1992) The continuity of maladaptive behaviour: from description to understanding in the study of antisocial behaviour. In: Cicchetti D, Cohen D (eds) Manual of developmental psychopathology. Wiley, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  11. Currie J, Stabile M (2002) Socioeconomic status and health: why is the relationship stronger for older children? Am Econ Rev 93(5):1813–1823CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Currie J, Tekin E (2012) Understanding the cycle. Childhood maltreatment and future crime. J Human Res 47(2):509–549CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Dembo R, Dertke M, La Voie L, Borders S, Washburn M, Schmeidler J (1987) Physical abuse, sexual victimization and illicit drug use: a structural analysis among high risk adolescents. J Adolesc 10:13–33CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Dinwiddie S, Heath AC, Dunne MP, Bucholtz KK, Madden PAF, Slutske WS, Bierut LJ, Statham DB, Martin NG (2000) Early sexual abuse and lifetime psychopathology: a co-twin–control study. Psychol Med 30:41–52CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Dodge KA, Bates JE, Pettit GS (1990) Mechanisms in the cycle of violence. Science 250:1678–1683CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Dunne MP, Purdie DM, Cook MD, Boyle FM, Najman JM (2003) Is child sexual abuse declining? Evidence from a population-based survey of men and women in Australia. Child Abuse Negl 27(2):141–152CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Dube SR, Felitti VJ, Dong M, Chapman DP, Wayne HG, Anda RF (2003) Childhood abuse, neglect, and household dysfunction and the risk of illicit drug use: the adverse childhood experiences study. Pediatrics 111(3):564–72Google Scholar
  18. English DJ, Widom CS, Brandford C (2002) Childhood victimization and delinquency, adult criminality and violent criminal behaviour: a replication and extension. Final Report. Presented to the US National Institute of JusticeGoogle Scholar
  19. Finkelhor D, Browne A (1985) The traumatic impact of child sexual abuse: a conceptualization. Am J Orthopsychiatry 55(4):530–541Google Scholar
  20. Garbarino J, Gilliam G (1980) Understanding abusive families. Lexington Books, LexingtonGoogle Scholar
  21. Gluckman PD, Hanson MA, Cooper C, Thornburg KL (2008) Effects of in-utero and early life conditions on adult health and disease. N Engl J Med 359:61–73CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Gil DG (1970) Violence against children. Physical child abuse in the United States. Harvard University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  23. Griliches Z (1979) Sibling models and data in economics: beginnings of a survey. J Polit Econ 87(5):37–64CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Hardt J, Rutter M (2004) Validity of adult retrospective reports of adverse childhood experiences: review of the evidence. J Child Psychol Psychiatry 45 (2):260–273CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Fagan AA (2005) The relationship between adolescent physical abuse and criminal offending: support for an enduring and generalized cycle of violence. J Fam Viol 20:279–290CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Hunter RS, Kilstorm N (1979) Breaking the cycle in abusive families. Am J Psychiatr 136(10):1320–1322Google Scholar
  27. Jaffee SR, Caspi A, Mott TE, Polo-Thomas M, Price T, Taylor A (2004) The limits of child effects: Evidence for genetically mediated child effects on corporal punishment but not on physical maltreatment. Dev Psychol 40(6):1047–58CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Kaplan HB (1980) Deviant behaviour in defense of self. Academic Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  29. Kempe CH, Silverman F, Steele B, Droegemueller W, Silver H (1962) The battered child syndrome. J Am Med Assoc 181(1):17–24CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Klepper S (1988) Bounding the effects of measurement error in regressions involving dichotomous variables. J Econ 37:343–359CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Le AT, Miller PW, Heath AC, Martin N (2005) Early childhood behaviours, schooling, and labour market outcomes: estimates from a sample of twins. Econ Educ Rev 24:1–17CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Lewbel A (2007) Estimation of average treatment effects with misclassification. Econometrica 75(2):537–551CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Loeber R (1982) The stability of antisocial and delinquent child behaviour: a review. Child Dev 53:1431–1446CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Lynskey MT, Heath AC, Nelson EC, Bucholtz KK, Madden PAF, Slutske WS, Statham DJ, Martin NG (2002) Genetic and environmental contributions to cannabis dependence in a national young adult twin sample. Psychol Med 32:195–207CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Lynskey MT, Heath AC, Bucholtz KK, Slutske WS, Madden PAF, Nelson EC, Statham DB, Martin NG (2003) Escalation of drug use in early-onset cannabis users vs cotwin controls. J Am Med Assoc 289:427–433CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Mamun AA, Lawlor DA, O’Callaghan MJ, Bor W, Williams GM, Najman JM (2007) Does childhood sexual abuse predict young adult’s BMI? A birth cohort study. Obesity 15(8):2103–2110CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Mayhew P (2003) Counting the costs of crime in Australia. Australian Institute of CriminologyGoogle Scholar
  38. Mazza D, Dennerstein L, Garamszegi CV, Dudley EC (2001) The physical, sexual and emotional violence history of middle-aged women: a community-based prevalence study. Med J Aust 175(4):199–201Google Scholar
  39. McLaughlin TL, Heath A, Bucholz KK, Madden PAF, Bierut LJ, Slutske WS, Dinwiddie S, Statham DJ, Dunne MP, Martin NG (2000) Childhood sexual abuse and pathogenic parenting in the childhood recollections of adult twin pairs. Psychol Med 30:1293–1302CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Mouzos J, Makkai T (2004) Women’s experiences of male violence: findings from the Australian component of the International Violence Against Women Survey (IVAWS). Australian Institute of Criminology, Canberra, Research and Public Policy Series, No. 56Google Scholar
  41. Mullen PE, Martin JL, Anderson JC, Romans SE, Herbison GP (1993) Childhood sexual abuse and mental health in adult life. Br J Psychiatr 163:721–732CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Nelson HB, Martin CA (1985) Increased child abuse in twins. Child Abuse Negl 9:501–505CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Nelson EC, Heath AC, Lynskey MT, Bucholtz KK, Madden PAF, Statham DJ, Martin NG (2006) Childhood sexual abuse and risks for licit and illicit drug-related outcomes: a twin study. Psychol Med 36:1473–1483CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Nelson EC, Lynskey MT, Heath AC, Madden PAF, Martin NG (2010) A family study of adult twins with and without a history of childhood abuse: stability of retrospective reports of maltreatment and associated family measures. Twin Res Hum Genet 13(2):121–130CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Pajer KA (1998) What happens to bad girls: a review of the adult outcomes of antisocial adolescent girls. Am J Psychiatr 155:862–870CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Paxson C, Waldfogel J (1999) Parental resources and child abuse and neglect. Am Econ Rev 89(2):239–244CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Paxson C, Waldfogel J (2002) Work, welfare, and child maltreatment. J Labor Econ 20(3):435–474CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Putnam FW (2003) Ten-year research update review: child sexual abuse. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry 42(3):269–278CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Robarge JP, Reynolds ZB, Groothuis JR (1982) Increased child abuse in families with twins. Res Nurs Health 5(4):199–203CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Searight HR, Rottnek F, Abby SL (2001) Conduct disorder: diagnoses and treatment in primary care. Am Fam Physician 63(8):1579–1588Google Scholar
  51. Short JF, Nye I (1957) Reported behaviour as a criterion of deviant behaviour. Soc Probl 5:207–213CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Simons RL, Wu C, Johnson C, Conger RD (1995) A test of various perspectives on the intergenerational transmission of domestic violence. Criminology 33(1):141–172CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Slutske WS, Heath AC, Dinwiddie SH, Madden PAF, Bucholz KK, Dunne MP, Statham DJ, Martin NG (1997) Modelling genetic and environmental influences in the etiology of conduct disorder: a study of 2,682 adult twin pairs. J Abnorm Psychol 106(2):266–279CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Webbink D, Vujić S, Koning P, Martin NG (2012) The effect of childhood conduct disorder on human capital. Health Econ 8:928–945CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Webbink HD, Koning PWC, Vujić S, Martin N (2013) Why are criminals less educated than non-criminals? J Law Econ Org 29(1):115–144CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Widom CS (1989) Does violence beget violence? A critical examination of the literature. Psychol Bull 106(1):3–28CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Widom CS (1992) The cycle of violence research in brief. National Institute of Justice, Washington D.C.Google Scholar
  58. Widom CS, Maxfeld MG (2001) An update on the cycle of violence. Research in brief. National Institute of Justice, Washington DCGoogle Scholar
  59. Williams LM (1994) Recall of childhood trauma: a prospective study of women’s memories of child sexual abuse. J Consult Clin Psychol 62:1167–1176CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Violeta Misheva
    • 1
    • 2
  • Dinand Webbink
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Nicholas G. Martin
    • 4
  1. 1.Erasmus School of EconomicsRotterdamNetherlands
  2. 2.Tinbergen InstituteAmsterdamNetherlands
  3. 3.IZABonnGermany
  4. 4.Queensland Institute of Medical ResearchBrisbaneAustralia

Personalised recommendations