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Childhood family income, adolescent violent criminality and substance misuse: quasi-experimental total population study

  • Amir Sariaslan (a1), Henrik Larsson (a1), Brian D'Onofrio (a2), Niklas Långström (a1) and Paul Lichtenstein (a1)...

Abstract

Background

Low socioeconomic status in childhood is a well-known predictor of subsequent criminal and substance misuse behaviours but the causal mechanisms are questioned.

Aims

To investigate whether childhood family income predicts subsequent violent criminality and substance misuse and whether the associations are in turn explained by unobserved familial risk factors.

Method

Nationwide Swedish quasi-experimental, family-based study following cohorts born 1989–1993 (n total = 526 167, n cousins = 262 267, n siblings = 216 424) between the ages of 15 and 21 years.

Results

Children of parents in the lowest income quintile experienced a seven-fold increased hazard rate (HR) of being convicted of violent criminality compared with peers in the highest quintile (HR = 6.78, 95% CI 6.23–7.38). This association was entirely accounted for by unobserved familial risk factors (HR = 0.95, 95% CI 0.44–2.03). Similar pattern of effects was found for substance misuse.

Conclusions

There were no associations between childhood family income and subsequent violent criminality and substance misuse once we had adjusted for unobserved familial risk factors.

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Copyright

Corresponding author

Amir Sariaslan, Karolinska Institutet, Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, PO Box 281, SE-171 77 Stockholm, Sweden. Email: Amir.Sariaslan@ki.se

Footnotes

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The study was supported by the Swedish Council for Working Life and Social Research, the Swedish Research Council (2010-3184; 2011-2492) and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (HD061817). The funders had no role in the design and conduct of the study; collection, management, analysis, and interpretation of the data; and preparation, review, or approval of the manuscript.

Declaration of interest

None.

Footnotes

References

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Childhood family income, adolescent violent criminality and substance misuse: quasi-experimental total population study

  • Amir Sariaslan (a1), Henrik Larsson (a1), Brian D'Onofrio (a2), Niklas Långström (a1) and Paul Lichtenstein (a1)...

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Childhood family income, adolescent violent criminality and substance misuse: quasi-experimental total population study

  • Amir Sariaslan (a1), Henrik Larsson (a1), Brian D'Onofrio (a2), Niklas Långström (a1) and Paul Lichtenstein (a1)...
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