Risk and Protective Factors for Educational Achievement Among Serious Offending Girls


  • This research was supported by grants from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (#54020 and #84567) and the Virginia Department of Juvenile Justice. The opinions expressed are those of the authors and not of the funding agencies. The authors thank Co-Investigators Drs. Marlene Moretti and Candice Odgers; the Gender and Aggression Research Team–Virginia Site members Drs. Mandi Burnette and Emily Marston; those at the Virginia Department of Juvenile Justice who supported this research (Drs. Dennis Waite, Dale Schulz, and Molly Alcott; Scott Reiner, Jessica Turfboer, and William Brock); the many research assistants who helped coordinate data collection; and the young women who participated in the Gender and Aggression Project.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Barbara A. Oudekerk or N. Dickon Reppucci, University of Virginia, Department of Psychology, 102 Gilmer Hall, PO Box 400400, Charlottesville, VA 22904. E-mail: bao2b@virginia.edu; ndr@virginia.edu


Using longitudinal data, this analysis: (1) documented educational outcomes for serious offending girls, and (2) identified risk and protective factors associated with academic achievement in mid-adolescence and degree attainment by early adulthood. In mid-adolescence, girls performed nearly one standard deviation below the population mean on academic achievement tests. Low IQ and special education needs were strong correlates of poor academic achievement, but living in a highly educated neighborhood was associated with higher academic achievement scores. By early adulthood, 62.7% of girls had received a General Educational Development (GED) or high school degree, and mid-adolescent academic achievement was the strongest predictor of degree attainment. Results suggest a need for early academic intervention targeting individual and neighborhood factors among offending girls.