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Crime Delinq. 2011 Nov 1;57(6):950-968. Epub 2009 May 8.

Propensity for Violence among Homeless and Runaway Adolescents: An Event History Analysis*

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University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 209 Benton Hall, Lincoln, NE 68588-0623, .


Little is known about the prevalence of violent behaviors among homeless and runaway adolescents or the specific behavioral factors that influence violent behaviors across time. In this longitudinal study of 300 homeless and runaway adolescents aged 16-19 years at baseline, we use event history analysis to assess the factors associated with acts of violence over three years, controlling for individual propensities and time-varying behaviors. The results indicate that females, non-minorities, and non-heterosexuals were less likely to engage in violence across time. Those who met criteria for substance abuse disorders (i.e. alcohol abuse, alcohol dependence, drug abuse) were more likely to engage in violence. A history of caretaker abuse was associated with violent behaviors, as were street survival strategies such as selling drugs, participating in gang activity, and associating with deviant peers. Simply having spent time directly on the streets at any specific time point also increased the likelihood for violence.

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