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Adult life adjustment of vulnerable youths. The relationship between criminal history, employment history and adult life outcomes

Verbruggen, Janna, van der Geest, Victor and Blokland, Arjan 2016. Adult life adjustment of vulnerable youths. The relationship between criminal history, employment history and adult life outcomes. Journal of Developmental and Life-Course Criminology 2 , pp. 466-493. 10.1007/s40865-016-0040-7

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Abstract

Purpose This article examines adult outcomes of vulnerable youths. Methods The sample consists of 251 boys and girls who were institutionalized in a Dutch juvenile justice institution in the 1990s. Information on personal and childhood characteristics was extracted from treatment files that were compiled during their stay in the institution. In addition, conviction data was used to determine subjects’ criminal careers. Conducting face-to-face interviews with these former JJI detainees when they were on average 34 years old, we collected retrospective information on employment history and several important current life course outcomes. Group-based trajectory modeling was used to identify distinct offending and employment groups. Results Results showed that previously institutionalized youths experience difficulties adjusting to conventional adult life. Most personal and childhood characteristics exert no significant effect on adult outcomes. Criminal behaviour in young adulthood does impact adult life outcomes, as the two chronic offender groups show more difficulties in conventional adult life domains. Employment is associated with better adult outcomes, as the two employment groups that have an increasing or high employment rate in adulthood show higher levels of adult life adjustment. Conclusions Adult life adjustment in this sample of previously institutionalized youths is mainly explained by events during young adulthood, and not so much by childhood risk factors. Ties to employment appear to facilitate transitions in other life domains, thereby promoting life success in adulthood.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Publisher: Springer Verlag (Germany)
ISSN: 2199-4641
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 10 October 2016
Date of Acceptance: 16 August 2016
Last Modified: 03 Apr 2020 13:04
URI: http://orca.cardiff.ac.uk/id/eprint/93930

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