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Cumulative Prevalence of Arrest Up in U.S. Youth

Highest increase is seen during late adolescence and early adulthood

MONDAY, Dec. 19 (HealthDay News) -- Since the 1960s, there has been a substantial increase in the cumulative prevalence of arrest among U.S. youth aged 8 to 23 years, according to a study published online Dec. 19 in Pediatrics.

Robert Brame, Ph.D., from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and colleagues assessed the cumulative proportion of youth, aged 8 to 23 years, who self-reported having been arrested or taken into custody for delinquent or illegal offenses (with the exception of arrests involving minor traffic violations). Data were collected from the 7,335 participants in the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997, and were evaluated from 1997 to 2008.

The investigators found that the in-sample cumulative arrest prevalence rate by age 18 lies between 15.9 and 26.8 percent, whereas at age 23, it lies between 25.3 and 41.4 percent. These ranges make no suppositions about missing data. The in-sample age-23 prevalence rate may lie between 30.2 and 41.4 percent if it is presumed that the missing cases have at least a similar likelihood of having been arrested as the observed cases. Late adolescence and the period of early or emerging adulthood are the periods during which there is the highest increase in the cumulative prevalence of arrest.

"Since the last nationally defensible estimate based on data from 1965, the cumulative prevalence of arrest for American youth (particularly in the period of late adolescence and early adulthood) has increased substantially. At a minimum, being arrested for criminal activity signifies increased risk of unhealthy lifestyle, violence involvement, and violent victimization," the authors write.

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