Berger (2000) defines juvenile delinquency as both major and minor lawbreaking by an individual aged eighteen and younger.
Crimes can range from relatively minor infractions, such as truancy and petty theft, all the way to rape and murder.
Compare that to serious persisting and serious desisting trajectory, and now we are talking about robbery, carjacking, felony assault, rape, and even murder.
These levels also indicate escalation, repeated arrest, and subsequent conviction.
The rest were either raised by a single parent, or a relative, such as a grandmother or aunt.
Most of the boys had never even met their biological father.
Others had stepfathers who were abusive, neglectful, or just absent.
While several social factors play a role in juvenile delinquency, research shows that the major contributing factor is indeed the family unit – specifically, parenting, or lack thereof (Mmari, et al. Steinberg (2000) doubts “that there is an influence on the development of antisocial behavior among young people that is stronger than that of the family” (33).
Second, that they have committed a crime and been prosecuted in a court of law.
Because this covers such a range of offenders, researchers have sought to identify different categories of delinquency, as it is such a broad term. (2008) have identified five categories of juvenile delinquents, with most research concentrating on drug sales and violence.
Negative peers, proximity to violence, low intelligence, delinquent peers, and certain genetic traits all play a role.
However, a great deal of research suggests that the family unit is perhaps the single greatest determiner of delinquent behavior in juveniles (Steinberg, 2000).