, 2008). Respondents to the study were 250 persons, aged 19-24, recruited at birth between 1979 and 1984 and pregnant women in four clinics in Cincinnati, Ohio. The pregnant women lived in areas with high concentrations of older-type of lead-contaminated dwellings (Wright et al.). Commendable efforts have been expended to reduce exposures to tobacco and environmental lead at this time. But millions of young people continue to be exposed to them in levels sufficient to put them at risk of persistent violent and criminal behaviors (Braun et al.).
Studies conducted with a wide range of age groups, populations and types of trauma showed that traumatized children and adolescents face a high risk of developing different behavioral, psychological and neurobiological problems (Caffo et al., 2005). Early traumatic experiences can have strong and lasting behavioral and psychological consequences in the young. These include Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD, depression, anxiety and psycho-functional impairment. Strong social support may shield the young from the effects of traumatic events. These events include community violence, natural and man-made disasters, child abuse and maltreatment, road traffic accidents and exposure to medical illnesses and death. A study of 349 traumatized adolescents from 9 U.S. middle schools revealed that 76% of them witnessed or were victims of at least one violent event in the previous three months. Another study of 2,041 Kenyan adolescents found that 80% of them had the same experience. Children and adolescents who are exposed to or become victims of war and terrorism are at an especially high risk of developing trauma and other psychosocial consequences (Caffo et al.).
Effects on Society
Another nationally representative study on adolescent students showed that more than one-fifth of them engaged in problem behaviors, which have potentially damaging consequences to themselves, their families, the community and society in general
(Bartlett et al., 2007). These problem behaviors include skipping school, alcohol and substance use, stealing, running away and engaging in sex. Problem behaviors put them at a high risk for other deleterious conditions in adolescence and adulthood. These conditions include early death (Bartlett et al.).
A meta-analysis of more than 100 researches showed the connection of delinquent behaviors to poor academic performance and involvement with delinquent peers (Henry & Huizinga, 2007). On account of truancy as a serious national concern in most school districts in the United States, a national survey of 1,528 adolescents was conducted in 2003 to study its proportions. These and other researches identified delinquent peer association as a most significant and decisive predictor of delinquency. Their findings concluded that children who get involved with delinquent peers are more likely to commit the same acts of these peers. Students who live in socially disorganized neighborhoods are especially exposed to delinquent peers. The studies also revealed that the involvement intensifies when delinquent acts begin and the more serious the offenses become. Truancy continues to affect and afflict society in multiple levels. At an individual level, it predicts maladjustment, poor academic performance and dropping out of school, substance use, delinquency and teenage pregnancy. At the family level, it often leads to marital instability, mental health problems, lower-status jobs and criminality. And with an increase in the number of people engaging in delinquent behavior, damaging consequences escalate, such as crimes, discords, incarceration and overall social instability. These increasingly spill over into the community level (Henry & Huizinga).#
Bartlett, R., et al. (2007). Problem behaviors in adolescents. 33 (1): 13-18 Pediatric
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Braun, J.M., et al. (2008). Association of environmental toxicants and conduct disorder in U.S. children. 116 (7): 956-962 Environmental Health Perspectives: National Institute
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Martin, G (2005). Theories of causation. Juvenile Justice Process and Systems. Chapter 3. Sage Publications. Retrieved on February 18, 2010 from http://www.sagepub.com/upon-data / 4880_Martin_Chapter_3_Juvenile_Delinquency.pdf
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