Running Away in America: The History and the Hope

  • James S. Gordon
Part of the Current Topics in Mental Health book series (CTMH)


Runaway young people have always been regarded with ambivalence. Their desire for escape and adventure, their search for change, and their challenge to accepted norms have excited the imaginations and elicited the sympathy of a nation which values independence and admires youthful courage. On the other hand, their premature departure from American homes has been regarded as a continuing subversion of the families which we are, often desperately, concerned with preserving; and their presence in the community and on the street has been seen as an offense to decency and, often enough, a threat to the social and economic order. Although these young people have been glamorized in fictional presentations, they have, in fact, been treated rather badly by our society: originally regarded as deviants to be corrected, they have more recently been seen as confused and misguided children who must be returned whence they have strayed. Sometimes they have been the object of a concern not unmixed with fear, contempt, incomprehension, and condescension; sometimes they have simply been fair game for economic and sexual exploitation.


Young People Sexual Exploitation Juvenile Justice System Family Problem Juvenile Delinquency 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1980

Authors and Affiliations

  • James S. Gordon
    • 1
  1. 1.Center for Studies of Child and Family Mental HealthNational Institute of Mental HealthRockvilleUSA

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