Conflict of interest statement: No conflicts declared.
Population density and youth antisocial behavior
Article first published online: 31 MAR 2009
© 2009 The Authors. Journal compilation © 2009 Association for Child and Adolescent Mental Health
Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry
Volume 50, Issue 8, pages 999–1008, August 2009
How to Cite
Paige Harden, K., D’Onofrio, B. M., Van Hulle, C., Turkheimer, E., Rodgers, J. L., Waldman, I. D. and Lahey, B. B. (2009), Population density and youth antisocial behavior. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 50: 999–1008. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-7610.2009.02044.x
- Issue published online: 16 JUL 2009
- Article first published online: 31 MAR 2009
- Manuscript accepted 1 August 2008
- Behavior problems;
- environmental influences;
Theoretical models concerning how neighborhood contexts adversely influence juvenile antisocial behavior frequently focus on urban neighborhoods; however, previous studies comparing urban and rural areas on the prevalence of youth antisocial behavior have yielded mixed results. The current study uses longitudinal data on the offspring of a nationally representative sample of mothers (N = 4,886) in the US. There was no relation between density and mother-reported child conduct problems across ages 4–13 years, but youth living in areas of greater population density exhibited more youth self-reported delinquency across 10–17 years. Families often moved to counties with greater or lesser population density, but longitudinal analyses treating population density as a time-varying covariate did not support the hypothesis that living in densely populated counties influenced youth delinquency. Rather, the association between population density and delinquency appears to be due to unmeasured selection variables that differ between families who live in more or less densely populated counties.