The Relationship Between Adverse Childhood Experiences and Recidivism

cover_ijotccWolff, Kevin T., Michael T. Baglivio, and Alex R. Piquero (forthcoming 2016). The Relationship Between Adverse Childhood Experiences and Recidivism in a Sample of Juvenile Offenders in Community-Based Treatment. International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology, published online before print, November 12, 2015.

Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) have been identified as a key risk factor for a range of negative life outcomes, including delinquency. Much less is known about how exposure to negative experiences relates to continued offending among juvenile offenders. In this study, we examine the effect of ACEs on recidivism in a large sample of previously referred youth from the State of Florida who were followed for 1 year after participation in community-based treatment. Results from a series of Cox hazard models suggest that ACEs increase the risk of subsequent arrest, with a higher prevalence of ACEs leading to a shorter time to recidivism. The relationship between ACEs and recidivism held quite well in demographic-specific analyses. Implications for empirical research on the long-term effects of traumatic childhood events and juvenile justice policy are discussed.