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Depression, Anxiety and Delinquency: Results from the Pittsburgh Youth Study

Jolliffe, Darrick, Farrington, David P, Brunton-Smith, Ian, Loeber, Rolf, Ahonen, Lia and Palacios, Anna Paula (2019) Depression, Anxiety and Delinquency: Results from the Pittsburgh Youth Study Journal of Criminal Justice, 62. pp 42-49.

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The main aim of this research is to investigate to what extent within-individual changes in anxiety and depression are related to within-individual changes in theft and violence.


The youngest sample of the Pittsburgh Youth Study (PYS), a prospective longitudinal survey of 503 boys followed up from age 7 onwards, was analyzed. Depression and anxiety were measured for boys from ages 11 to 16 as were moderate and serious forms of self-reported theft and violence. A hierarchical linear random effects model was used to investigate anxiety and depression as potential causes or outcomes of these forms of delinquency.


The results showed that the between-individual correlations were consistently higher than the corresponding within-individual correlations, and provided little evidence to discern the directionality of the potential relationships between depression, anxiety and delinquency. Using a random effects approach, there was limited evidence that prior depression or anxiety was related to later offending, but there was evidence that offending (particularly theft and serious violence) was associated with later increases in anxiety, and to a lesser extent depression.


This study indicates that depression and anxiety were outcomes of offending. If replicated, this would suggest that evidence-based interventions which reduced offending would have a desirable influence in reducing depression and anxiety. However, interventions for depression should still form part of responsive interventions. More research which explores within-individual changes in longitudinal studies with repeated measures is needed.

Item Type: Article
Divisions : Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences > Department of Sociology
Authors :
Jolliffe, Darrick
Farrington, David P
Loeber, Rolf
Ahonen, Lia
Palacios, Anna Paula
Date : May 2019
DOI : 10.1016/j.jcrimjus.2018.08.004
Copyright Disclaimer : © 2018 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.© 2018 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (
Depositing User : Melanie Hughes
Date Deposited : 18 Sep 2018 15:24
Last Modified : 04 Sep 2019 09:39

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