An Update on the “Cycle of Violence”

In one of the most detailed studies of the issue to date, research sponsored by the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) found that childhood abuse and neglect increased the odds of future delinquency and adult criminality overall by 29 percent. When data were initially checked in 1988, the average age of subjects was 26 years. About 65 percent of the sample had passed through the peak years of committing violent offenses (ages 20 to 25 years). This update reports new arrest data collected in 1994, when subjects averaged 32.5 years of age and only 1 percent of the sample had not passed through the peak offending years. The examination of updated data on the same subjects 6 years later reveals findings that are similar in some respects, but quite different in others.

Publication Date

February 2001

Publication Name

National Institute of Justice

Violence type

Cathy S. Widom
Michael G. Maxfield