Helms School of Government


Doctor of Philosophy


Douglas Orr


adverse childhood experiences, protective factors, offending


Public Affairs, Public Policy and Public Administration


The negative effects of adverse childhood experiences have been widely examined; however, there has been limited research exploring the association between out-of-home placements and juvenile delinquency. Evidence suggests that positive bonding and associations mitigate maladaptive behaviors, yet it remains unclear if certain protective factors have an equally mediating effect on offending. The current study expanded on the existing criminological literature of juvenile offending by applying general strain theory and developmental taxonomy as the frameworks for the association between childhood traumas, protective factors, and juvenile offending. Data were drawn from the Pathways to Desistance Study using foster care, residential treatment centers, parental warmth (mother and father), education (bonding with teachers, satisfaction with schools), age, gender, and their relationship to offending. A series of linear regression analyses were used to examine the relationship between variables. For all types of offending, those who stayed in a residential treatment center at least one night had higher proportions of offending. Parental warmth from a father, bonding with a schoolteachers, and age and gender were significantly associated with proportions of aggressive offending, income offending, and total offending. These findings support previous literature on the age-crime curve and suggest that the quality of educational and parental support, specifically from teachers and fathers, can positively affect levels of offending.