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Am Psychol. 1992 Aug;47(8):997-1006.

Early childhood intervention. A promising preventative for juvenile delinquency.

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Department of Psychology, Yale University, New Haven, CT 06520-7447.


Programs to reduce or prevent juvenile delinquency have been generally unsuccessful. Apparently the risk factors that make a child prone to delinquency are based in too many systems--including the individual, the family, and community networks--to make isolated treatment methods effective. Surprisingly, longitudinal studies of some early childhood intervention programs suggest they may help to reduce future delinquency. These programs take an ecological approach to enhancing child development by attempting to promote overall social competence in the many systems impacting on children. Not engaging in criminal acts is one indicator of competence that is related to others, such as being successful in school and in personal relationships. Evaluators must gather more data to confirm this unanticipated benefit of comprehensive interventions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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