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Soc Work. 1990 May;35(3):244-9.

Child abuse and delinquency: the empirical and theoretical links.

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  • 1School of Social Work, University of Georgia, Athens 30602.


There is an association between child abuse and delinquency, but problems with study design, definition, and method currently prevent a definitive understanding of the sequences and causal relations involved. The evidence indicates that a bidirectional relationship exists between child abuse and delinquency. A framework that uses Patterson's analysis of coercive processes suggests that child characteristics, parental inadequacies, and external stressors each play a part in child abuse and delinquency.

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