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Environmental Influences on Delinquency

Family factors that impact delinquency

Parental divorce can have significant effects on a child. Parental divorce predicts juvenile delinquency consistently and is a significant parent-related risk factor for developing criminal behavior in childhood and adolescence, which increases the likelihood of criminal convictions and antisocial behavior. The result of parental divorce is frequent emotional suffering. Compared to children from two-parent households, children from one-parent families are more likely to be unemployed, drop out of school, have lower psychological well-being, and commit sexual assault (Mwangangi, 2019). Because there is now just one family provider, going from a two-parent to a single-parent household sometimes leads to a loss of financial resources and a reduction in supervision. Separated fathers frequently spend less time with their kids, undermining their commitment and trust.

Another factor is violence within the family. Juvenile delinquency rates can also be influenced by how violent parents are with one another and their kids. Only 22% of child offenders came from non-violent homes, while 78% of criminals came from families with physical abuse and child neglect (Mwangangi, 2019). The likelihood of non-offenders coming from violent homes is substantially higher than the likelihood of non-violent homes. Also, children who grow up in a violent home are more likely to become violent in future relationships, besides being delinquent.

An example of the causes of failure in school and its links to juvenile delinquency.

Drug abuse is among the causes of failure in school and is also related to delinquency. Research shows a direct correlation between teen substance misuse and academic performance (DEA, 2021). Teens who take drugs perform worse academically, frequently miss school and extracurricular activities, and are more likely to leave school altogether. Marijuana, for instance, impacts learning, memory, and attention (DEA, 2021). After the medicine wears off, its effects may linger for several days or weeks. Therefore, if someone smokes marijuana regularly, they are not operating at their best.

Drug use can hinder a teen’s cognitive growth, but it can also impact how well they function academically, including their memory skills, focus in class, assignment priority, likely to attend class, and even general IQ (DEA, 2021). Adolescent substance abusers frequently exhibit a key neurocognitive trait known as maladaptive choices. They experience some decision-making deficiencies as a result, which adds to the burden in their lives. Most of these people’s behaviors are impacted by impromptu judgments, and these people then manage self-control. As a result, their link to the brain is faulty, which makes it challenging for them to practice self-control or even emotional management. These drug users’ erratic performance connection is what causes them to react quickly to situations, including continuing to commit crimes. Out-of-school issues are linked to substance usage. Negative peer groups, a lack of social boundaries within the area, physical or sexual abuse, and other factors can all contribute to delinquent conduct (DEA, 2021). As a result, drug use will raise the incidence of delinquent behavior, and the limited resources burden the juvenile and criminal justice systems. It might also result in problems with youth killings. As a result, these are some of the societal issues currently causing greater issues for the social and criminal justice systems.

Adolescent drug use and abuse and the patterns of behavior that change over time.

Drug abuse among adolescents uses certain chemicals to produce pleasurable effects on the brain. A significant change in behavior patterns is associated with drug abuse, especially among adolescents. Firstly, drug abuse among adolescents leads to changes in personality. Over time, adolescents start engaging in risky and unethical behavior because drug abuse affects the prefrontal cortex, mostly involved with emotional regulation and self-control (Jadhav & Boutrel, 2019). Also, adolescents become more irritable and violent because they lack self-control and emotional regulation. Another notable change in behavior patterns is they develop poor hygiene and appetite because of the effects of the drugs. It is important to observe these changes to identify how to help teenagers out of their addiction.


Mwangangi, R. K. (2019). The role of the family in dealing with juvenile delinquency. Open Journal of Social Sciences. DOI: 10.4236/jss.2019.73004

United States Government Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). (2021). School Failure. Retrieved From:

Jadhav, K. S., & Boutrel, B. (2019). Prefrontal cortex development and emergence of self‐regulatory competence: The two cardinal features of adolescence disrupted in context of alcohol abuse. European Journal of Neuroscience.


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