Craig, Jessica M., Haley R. Zettler, Kevin T. Wolff and Michael T. Baglivio (2018). Considering the Mediating Effects of Drug and Alcohol Use, Mental Health, and Their Co-Occurrence on the Adverse Childhood Experiences–Recidivism Relationship. Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice, Online First.
Prior research has demonstrated a relationship between adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and recidivism among justice-involved youth. It has also been found that drug and alcohol use, mental health, and their co-occurrence increase recidivism. As there is evidence that ACEs increase the likelihood of both drug and alcohol use and mental health problems, it is surprising that prior research has yet to examine whether these factors mediate the ACE-recidivism relationship. Using data from a large sample of adjudicated juveniles in Florida, the current study examines the mediating effects of drug and alcohol use, mental health problems, and their co-occurrence on the ACEs-recidivism relationship. For the entire sample, the results found that current drug use, current mental health problems, and their co-occurrence served as partial mediators of the ACEs-recidivism relationship. Further, important gender and racial differences in these mediating effects were revealed. Implications for these findings within justice-involved youth are discussed.