Handbook of Psychological Services for Children and Adolescents

By Jan N. Hughes; Annette M. La Greca et al. | Go to book overview

15
Effective Community-Based
Interventions for Antisocial
and Delinquent Adolescents
STANLEY J. HUEY JR.
SCOTT W. HENGGELER

Adolescents engage in higher rates of antisocial behavior and criminal activity than any other age group (Loeber, Farrington, & Waschbusch, 1998; Office of Technology Assessment, 1991). Although youth between the ages of 15 and 17 years comprised only 4% of the U.S. population in 1996, they accounted for 21% of arrests for burglary, 23% for robbery, 14% for rape, 10% for aggravated assault, 13% for murder, and 12% of total arrests (U.S. Bureau of the Census, 1997). When defined broadly to include minor delinquent acts (e.g., truancy, disobedience, vandalism), antisocial behavior is a common, if transient, occurrence over the normal course of childhood (Elliott, Ageton, Huizinga, Knowles, & Canter, 1983; Elliott, Huizinga, & Morse, 1986). Yet a large proportion of serious crimes is committed by a relatively small group of chronic and violent offenders (Loeber et al., 1998; Office of Technology Assessment, 1991), a substantial minority of whom go on to become adult offenders (Elliott, 1994; Farrington et al., 1990; Moffitt, 1993).

The societal costs of adolescent and adult antisocial behavior are considerable. Victims of violent crime often suffer immediate and long-term physical injury and psychological trauma (Hanson, Kilpatrick, Falsetti, & Resnick, 1995; Kilpatrick, Saunders, Veronen, Best, & Von, 1987; Resnick, Acierno, & Kilpatrick, 1997). The medical and mental health costs to these victims are estimated to exceed $10 billion annually (Miller, Cohen, & Rossman, 1993). When these costs are combined with estimates of lost productivity and property loss and with intangibles such as pain, suffering, and risk of death, the costs of criminal victimization may exceed $100 billion annually (Cohen, 1990; Miller, Cohen, & Wiersema, 1996). In addition,

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