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«The Social Control of Childhood Behavior via Criminalization or Medicalization: Why Race Matters DISSERTATION Presented in Partial Fulfillment of the ...»

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Results Social Control Trajectories Figure D.1 displays criminalized trajectories of social control. The majority of young men (75.8 percent) in the sample are classified as following a low-risk criminalization trajectory. For this group, the risk of conviction, probation, or incarceration remains relatively stable and low throughout adolescence and young adulthood. In addition, there are two separate trajectories of criminalized social control.

A small but not insignificant group (14.6 percent) follows an adolescent-limited criminalization trajectory. Individuals following this trajectory were at a relatively high risk of criminal justice contact during their late teens but generally avoiding involvement with the legal system during young adulthood. Because they seem to have managed to escape long-term involvement with the legal system by their late 20’s, their risks of legal troubles as of the most recent survey wave were similar to those in the low-risk group.

Finally, about 9.6 percent of the sample follows a life-course persistent criminalization trajectory. Similar to the adolescent-limited group, individuals in the long-term risk group experienced a steady increase in their risk of criminal justice involvement during their late teens. However these men remain at a relatively high risk for involvement with the criminal justice system throughout young adulthood.

Figure D.2 displays trajectories of medicalization. Similar to criminalization, trajectories of medicalization follow three distinct pathways. The majority of young men (82.2 percent) in the sample follow a social control trajectory characterized by a low risk of visiting a mental health professional or taking psychotropic medication to control behavior throughout adolescence and young adulthood. Another group (10.5 percent) follows an adolescent-limited trajectory, characterized by visits to mental health professionals and the use of psychotropic drugs during late adolescence, but limited use of mental health services starting in the early 20’s. From age 25 and older, they experienced similar involvement with the mental health system as the low-risk group.

Finally, another 7.3 percent of the sample follows a life-course persistent trajectory of medicalized social control. For individuals following this trajectory, the use of mental health professionals and technology to handle problem behavior continues throughout adolescence and young adulthood. After defining trajectories of criminalized and medicalized social control, I turn to discussion of how time-invariant variables capturing childhood experiences predicts membership in different trajectories after controlling for time-variant predictors of criminal justice contract or the use of mental health services in young adulthood 7.

Table C.1 presents log-odds and odds-ratios from multinomial regression models predicting membership in either the adolescent-limited or life-course persistent trajectories of criminalized social control, using the low-risk group as a reference category, and controlling for time-varying covariates thought to influence criminal justice contact 8. Results indicate the likelihood of following a given trajectory compared with This paper focuses on how different labeling events during childhood, school punishment and receiving therapy or medication for behavior problems, predict entry into different life-course trajectories characterized by involvement with the criminal justice or mental health systems. However, the model also controls for a number of time-variant variables that could potentially mediate the association between the labeling of early childhood behavior and contact with the criminal justice system (being on probation, being incarcerated, or being convicted of crime) for individuals following different trajectories of criminalized social control or the visiting a therapist or taking psychotropic medication at a given age.

Specifically, I control for economic idleness using a dummy variable equal to “1” if the respondent was unemployed and out of school in the same year (Deming 2009), high school graduation, most recent grades, self-esteem, self-control, and criminal activity during each survey year. Because the coefficients for timevarying variables represent the log-odds of criminal justice contact or the use of mental health services for individuals in each group rather than the influence of these variables on group membership itself, and the substantive focus of the paper on predicting membership in different trajectories, I center my results and discussion around the time-invariant variables. Results for time-variant variables is reported in Appendix I.

The coefficients for time-stable covariates in models using the traj command in Stata 13.0 can be thought of as the log-odds of group membership compared to membership in a given reference group. Because I am estimating a three-group model, traj estimates a multinomial model of group membership relative to a given base category. The straightforward way to interpret coefficients for these models is by considering the percent change in the log-odds of group membership versus membership in one of the respective lowrisk groups [100*(ebx)-1] for a one-unit difference in the independent variables (Long 1997; Nagin and Jones 2013). On the other hand, the coefficients for time-varying variables represent the log-odds of following a low-risk trajectory. Looking first at racial differences in the likelihood of following criminalized life-course trajectory, African-American boys were no more likely than White boys to follow an adolescent-limited criminalization trajectory versus a norisk trajectory of criminalization. However, African-Americans were 182 percent [100*(e-1.038)-1] more likely than Whites to follow a life-course persistent trajectory of criminalized social control than a no-risk trajectory.





Turning to a discussion of how labeling during childhood predicts the entrance into different trajectories of criminalization, Table C.1 provides evidence that school punishment and the use of therapy or medication for behavior problems have different consequences when it comes to involvement with the criminal justice system over the life-course. Compared to those who received no label during childhood, young men who experienced only school punishment were 116 percent [100*(e.771)-1] more likely to enter an adolescent-limited trajectory of social control and 271 percent [100*(e3.718)-1] more likely to enter the life-course persistent trajectory of criminalization than they are to follow a low risk trajectory of social control. Similarly, those who experienced school punishment and the use of therapy or medication during childhood were 427 percent [100*(e1.663)-1] and 256 percent [100*(e1.271)-1] more likely to enter an adolescentlimited trajectory or life-course persistent trajectory of criminalization than a low-risk trajectory, respectively. Importantly, those young men who experienced therapy or medication for behavior problems, yet were not suspended or expelled from school during childhood, were no more likely than those young men who had no label before the criminal justice contact for individuals in each group, rather than the effects of time-varying variables on group membership.

age of fifteen to enter either criminalized trajectory of social control relative to a low-risk trajectory.

Finally, the influence of misbehavior during childhood, as measured by externalizing behaviors, was significantly and positively associated with the risk of involvement in a life-course persistent trajectory of criminalized social control.

However, while young men who displayed one standard deviation greater frequency of externalizing behavior symptoms were 29 percent [100*(e.261)-1] more likely to follow a life-course persistent trajectory of criminalization than they were a low risk trajectory, frequent misbehavior in childhood did not explain the risks associated with either race or labeling. Instead, after controlling for childhood problem behavior, African-Americans and young men who were suspended or expelled from school before the age of fifteen were significantly and markedly more likely to experience criminalized social control during adolescence and young adulthood.

Other childhood variables also predicted entrance into criminalized social control trajectories. Living in poverty during childhood was associated with a greater likelihood of experiencing an adolescent-limited trajectory. Interestingly, after school punishment and performance is considered, repeating a grade during elementary or middle school is negatively associated with the likelihood of following a life-course persistent trajectory.

Finally, mother’s education during childhood is decreases the chances of following both an adolescent-limited trajectory and a life-course persistent trajectory relative to a lowrisk trajectory.

Table C.2 presents log-odds and odds-ratios from multinomial models predicting membership in either the adolescent-limited or life-course persistent trajectories of medicalized social control, using the low-risk group as a reference category. Unlike with criminalized trajectories of social control, African-Americans are significantly less likely than Whites to follow a life-course persistent trajectory of medicalized social control relative to a low-risk trajectory. Compared to Whites, African-American males are 68 percent [100*(e-1.155)-1] less likely to follow a life-course persistent trajectory of medicalized social control than they are a low risk trajectory. Similar to criminalized trajectories, there is no statistically significant difference between Whites and AfricanAmericans in the likelihood of following an adolescent-limited medicalized trajectory compared to a low-risk medicalized trajectory.

Looking at the influence of punishment and therapy or medication during childhood on the likelihood of entrance into different trajectories of medicalized social control, results from Table C.2 suggest that the use of therapy or medication for behavior problems early in life is associated with a greater likelihood of involvement with medicalized social control over the life-course. Compared to young men who were not labeled, young men who experienced only the use of therapy or medication are more than 500 percent more likely to follow either adolescent-limited trajectory or a life-course persistent trajectory of medicalized social control as opposed to a low-risk trajectory.

Similar differences between those young men who were both suspended or expelled and received either therapy or medication and those who were never labeled during childhood, experiencing both labeling events before the age of fifteen increases the chances of following an adolescent-limited or life-course persistent trajectory of medicalized social control by over 700 percent compared to following a low-risk medicalized social control trajectory. Importantly, those young men who were suspended or expelled from school during childhood, yet did not receive therapy or medication for their behavior problems, were no more likely to enter either medicalized trajectory of social control than those young men who had received therapy or medication for their behavior problems before the age of fifteen.

While race and childhood labeling were predictors of subsequent trajectories of medicalized social control, the influence of externalizing behaviors during childhood was not significantly associated with a greater risk of involvement in either trajectory.

Furthermore, similar to trajectories of criminalized social control, frequent displays of externalizing behaviors in childhood did not mediate the association between either race or labeling and involvement in medicalization during adulthood. Indeed, other than race and labeling, only year born was found to be significantly associated with the entrance of either medicalization trajectory.

One of the benefits of group-based modeling is the ease in which researchers can model and illustrate how time-stable risk factors can accumulate and increase or decrease the likelihood that individuals will follow given trajectories (Jones and Nagin 2007). For example, because African-American and White males are likely to have fundamentally different experiences with respect to school punishment and therapy or medication for behavior problems during childhood, racial differences in trajectories of criminalized and medicalized social control are likely to be even more pronounced. To help illustrate this accumulation of risk, Figure D presents predicted probabilities of membership in either the low-risk, adolescent-limited, or life-course persistent criminalization trajectories for young White and African-American males with different labeling experiences during childhood.

As Figure D.3 demonstrates, racialized experiences of school punishment or therapy and medication help to contribute to racial disparities in criminalization over the life-course. For example, White boys who receive therapy or medication during childhood are more likely to avoid long-term involvement in the criminal justice system.

Indeed, White boys who received only therapy or medication during childhood were almost as likely to follow a low-risk trajectory of criminalized social control as AfricanAmerican boys who received no label at all. Furthermore, the likelihood of White boys who received only therapy or medication during childhood following a life-course persistent trajectory of criminalization is less than five percent. Finally, White and African-American boys who experience both school punishment and therapy or medication during childhood are similar in their likelihood of following a life-course persistent trajectory of criminalization. However, White boys who experience both punishment and therapy/medication during childhood had a lower probability of following a life-course persistent trajectory of criminalized social control than any African-American male, regardless of labeling in childhood.

Figure D.4 presents predicted probabilities of membership in either the low-risk, adolescent-limited, or life-course persistent medicalization trajectories for young White and African-American males with different labeling experiences during childhood.



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