A prospective, longitudinal cohort study: The impact of child maltreatment on delinquency among South Korean youth in middle and high school


Background: Cultural groups vary in how they understand child maltreatment and children's misbehavior and these cultural variations may impact the relationship between maltreatment and delinquency. Objective: This study investigated the impact of maltreatment on delinquency among South Korean youth. Participants and Setting: Using Korean Children and Youth Panel Survey data, this study followed two cohorts of middle (n = 2,275) and high (n = 2,272) school youth for their first self-reported delinquency over 4 years. Method: Discrete-time hazard model was used for the analyses. Results: Approximately 19% of middle and 11% of high school youth engaged in delinquency for 4 years. Maltreatment is associated with delinquency only for high school youth (HR = 1.42). In both cohorts, male youth with high levels of aggression were more likely to engage in delinquency. Additional risk factors included high levels of depression (HR = 1.36) and negative attitudes toward school rules (HR = 0.68), father's education less than high school (HR = 0.63), low levels of self-control (HR = 0.63). Findings also identified culturally unique factors that place Korean youth at heightened risk of delinquency: mother's education more than high school (HR = 1.49) and higher family income (HR = 1.93). Conclusion: Preventive interventions need to identify culturally specific risk factors for youth at increased risk of delinquency and thus these preventive interventions should be culturally tailored.

Publication Title

Child Abuse and Neglect