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Gender differences and the influence of ACEs on youth delinquency

18 May 2021

Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) have a significant effect on teenagers’ criminal behaviour, at least for girls, according to a study in the Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency.

Girls who experienced four or more ACEs by age five, during the most sensitive period of brain development, were 36% more likely to participate in delinquent behaviour. Boys’ delinquency appeared unrelated to early ACEs. The research looked at data from the longitudinal Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing study, which examined childhood adversity and adolescent behaviour.

Co-author Melissa Jones said: ‘Our analysis points toward the need for gendered strategies in working with children with ACEs, because the different ways boys and girls are socialised shape how they process trauma.’

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