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02-07-2018 | Empirical Research | Uitgave 11/2018

Journal of Youth and Adolescence 11/2018

The Effects of Neighborhood Context on Exposure to Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Among Adolescents Involved in the Juvenile Justice System: Latent Classes and Contextual Effects

Journal of Youth and Adolescence > Uitgave 11/2018
Kevin T. Wolff, Celina Cuevas, Jonathan Intravia, Michael T. Baglivio, Nathan Epps


Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) have been identified as a key risk factor associated with a wide range of negative life outcomes, including juvenile delinquency. Much less work has explored whether certain combinations of ACEs, or typologies of trauma, exist, and whether or not these subgroups are differentially associated with certain youth-level and/or community-level characteristics. The current study uses latent class analysis to examine ACE typologies among a sample of over 92,000 juvenile offenders between the ages of 10 and 18 in the state of Florida (52% male, 37.3% White, 46.8% Black, 15.9% Hispanic). Multilevel multinomial logistic regression is used to assess the relationship between both individual- and community-level factors and class membership. The findings suggest that a total of five distinct ACE typologies exist among the sample of juvenile offenders, and age, race, and sex were significantly associated with class membership. Additionally, controlling for individual-level characteristics, community-level measures of immigrant concentration, residential instability, and two separate measures of concentrated disadvantage and affluence were significantly related to class membership. This study contributes to the understanding of adverse childhood experiences, and adds to existing knowledge regarding the relationship between contextual factors and childhood abuse, maltreatment, and trauma. The identification of ACE subgroups with distinct characteristics may help guide prevention strategies and tailor treatment provided by the juvenile justice system.

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