Criminal History and Adverse Childhood Experiences in Relation to Recidivism and Social Functioning in Multi-problem Young Adults

Criminal Justice and Behavior

Laura Van Duin, Michiel De Vries Robbé, Reshmi Marhe, Floor Bevaart, Josjan Zijlmans, Marie-Jolette A. Luijks, Theo A. H. Doreleijers, Arne Popma

https://doi.org/10.1177/0093854820975455

Abstract:

This study examines the relationship between criminal history and adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and how they collectively predict (a) recidivism and (b) positive social functioning among multi-problem young adults. Criminal records and self-report data regarding ACEs and adult education/employment and quality of life (QoL) were collected for 692 multiproblem young adults (18–27 years). Results indicated that an extensive criminal history was related to non-violent and violent recidivism and lack of involvement in education/employment in young adulthood. On the contrary, a higher number of ACEs was related to lower QoL later in life, while this was not associated with recidivism or education/employment. These findings highlight again that past criminal behavior is a strong predictor of future criminality, particularly within this group of young adults with multiple problems. Furthermore, experiencing negative events in childhood shows to have long-term negative effects on QoL even for these individuals who already experience multiple life problems. Implications are discussed.

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