Date of Award

Spring 2001

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Sociology & Criminal Justice


Applied Sociology

Committee Director

Randy Gainey

Committee Member

James A. Nolan

Committee Member

Ruth Triplett

Call Number for Print

Special Collections LD4331.S62 B35 2001


The purpose of this research is to examine the child abuse-delinquency relationship, as well as mediating variables that may influence that relationship, such as parental attachment, witnessing family violence, and negative life events. Much of the research on this topic utilizes official government statistics and substantiated child abuse cases, which research has shown to be an undercount of the actual incidents of child abuse. This analysis utilizes the data resulting from the 1992 National Youth Victimization Prevention Survey (NYVPS) in which 2000 children between the ages of 10 and 16 were interviewed by telephone. This research examines the impact of both physical and sexual abuse on children and their responses to a general index of delinquency at the initial interview and approximately one-year later. While a great deal of research on the child abuse-delinquency relationship has yielded significant findings, this research hopes to identify mediating variables in order to explain some of the inconsistencies within the relationship. Analyses reveal that when parental attachment, negative life events, and witnessing family violence are included in the regression, physical abuse and sexual abuse are not significant predictors of delinquency at time two. The most significant predictor of delinquency at time two within the model is delinquency at time one.


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