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Distinguishing homicide, violent sexual, and violent juvenile offending

Michael T. Baglivio (Department of Research and Program Development, G4S Youth Services, LLC, Tampa, Florida, USA)
Kevin T. Wolff (John Jay College of Criminal Justice, New York City, New York, USA)

Journal of Criminal Psychology

ISSN: 2009-3829

Article publication date: 2 May 2017




The purpose of this paper is to examine temperament differences, notably effortful control and negative emotionality, and correlates that distinguish between homicide, violent sexual and other violent juvenile offenders. Exploring heterogeneity among violent offenders is relevant to intervention strategies and policy implications.


Demographic measures, temperament constructs and individual risk factor indicators were assessed across 30,303 violent juvenile offenders (including 397 homicide offenders) in Florida to assess their ability to distinguish among violent juvenile offender subgroups.


Analyses demonstrated temperament constructs distinguish among classifications of violent juvenile offenders with effortful control differentiating homicide and violent sexual offenders from other violent offenders, and negative emotionality distinguishing violent sexual from other violent offenders, with youth having greater negative emotionality and less effortful control being non-sexual violent offenders. Homicide offenders were more likely to be older, male and had histories of gang membership and weapon/firearm offending than other violent offenders, and evidenced greater negative emotionality than violent sexual offenders.


The differences across violent youthful offender subtypes suggest heterogeneity among violent offenders with distinct correlates more predictive of some subtypes than others. Additionally, the temperament constructs of effortful control and negative emotionality are useful in distinguishing violent offender subtypes, which points toward differing intervention/treatment strategies.



Baglivio, M.T. and Wolff, K.T. (2017), "Distinguishing homicide, violent sexual, and violent juvenile offending", Journal of Criminal Psychology, Vol. 7 No. 2, pp. 81-92.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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