Delinquency in youth predicts a significantly higher rate of violent death in adulthood -- especially from firearms -- and females are among the most vulnerable, reports a new Northwestern Medicine® study.

Delinquent females died violently at nearly five times the rate of those in the general population, according to the study, while delinquent males died at three times general population rates.

Death rates in Hispanic males and females were five and nine times more than the general population rates, respectively.

This is the first large-scale study to look at death rates in delinquent females and adds new data on Hispanics, now the largest minority group in the U.S. The paper will be published June 16 in the journal Pediatrics.

In addition, violent death up to age 34 was predicted by three risk factors in adolescence: alcohol use disorder, selling drugs and gang involvement, according to the study.

"Our findings are shocking," said lead author Linda Teplin, the Owen L. Coon Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. "Death rates in our sample of delinquent youth, ages 15 to 19, are nearly twice those of troops in combat in wartime Iraq and Afghanistan."

Source:  Northwestern, Science Daily 6/16/2014.

 

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