Sex and age differences in the risk threshold for delinquency

T.M.L. Wong, R. Loeber, M. Slotboom, C.C.J.H. Bijleveld, A.E. Hipwell, S.D. Stepp, H.M. Koot

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This study examines sex differences in the risk threshold for adolescent delinquency. Analyses were based on longitudinal data from the Pittsburgh Youth Study (n = 503) and the Pittsburgh Girls Study (n = 856). The study identified risk factors, promotive factors, and accumulated levels of risks as predictors of delinquency and nondelinquency, respectively. The risk thresholds for boys and girls were established at two developmental stages (late childhood: ages 10-12 years, and adolescence: ages 13-16 years) and compared between boys and girls. Sex similarities as well as differences existed in risk and promotive factors for delinquency. ROC analyses revealed only small sex differences in delinquency thresholds, that varied by age. Accumulative risk level had a linear relationship with boys' delinquency and a quadratic relationship with girls' delinquency, indicating stronger effects for girls at higher levels of risk. © 2012 Springer Science+Business Media New York.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)641-652
JournalJournal of Abnormal Child Psychology
Issue number4
Early online date25 Nov 2012
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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