Personal Characteristics of Delinquents

Melissa Peskin, Andrea L. Glenn, Yu Gao, Jianghong Liu, Robert A. Schug, Yaling Yang and Adrian Raine

in The Oxford Handbook of Juvenile Crime and Juvenile Justice

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9780195385106
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

Personal Characteristics of Delinquents

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  • Criminology and Criminal Justice
  • Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice



This article reviews research on the personal characteristics of youth that predispose to crime, focusing on the biosocial origins of antisocial behavior. A significant empirical base suggests that certain biological characteristics interact with environmental risk factors to produce higher rates of delinquency. This theme is explored in reviewing research within the domains of genetics, neuroimaging, neurology, neuropsychology, psychophysiology, endocrinology, and early health risks. Efforts have been made to integrate biosocial findings into prevention programs. Although the juvenile justice system may not be in a position to alter biological risk factors, family courts that hear cases of child abuse and neglect may be able to mitigate psychosocial risk factors by mandating therapies for youth and parenting classes for caretakers. Intervention and prevention efforts that utilize this approach represent promising avenues for the future treatment and prevention of criminal and delinquent behavior.

Keywords: delinquency; biosocial; prevention programs; delinquent behavior; environmental risk factors

Article.  15451 words. 

Subjects: Criminology and Criminal Justice ; Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice

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