There is much to celebrate in the declining arrest rates for boys. But boys, and particularly African American boys, continue to account for the vast majority of arrests in the juvenile justice system. In response, researchers are working hard to identify the factors that push boys toward, or pull them away, from juvenile delinquency.
Boys may be more likely to become delinquent if they are mistreated in the home, have delinquent friends, drop out of school, use drugs, or face community violence. But research shows that young men like Anthony, with the support of their parents, coaches, teachers, and friends, can continue to develop good behaviors despite some setbacks.
Research into what works to build boys’ strengths and reduce the challenges they face is still growing. While researchers have learned a lot about boys’ risks for juvenile delinquency, efforts continue to pinpoint what strengths make some boys more likely to succeed and what risks, or challenges, increase the likelihood that they will struggle.