Gender differences and juvenile delinquency: results from the “International Self-Report Delinquency Study”
Male gender is a well-known risk factor for juvenile delinquency. In recent years several studies have reported a steady increase in the involvement of girls in deviant behavior, suggesting that differences in deviant behavior between males and females might be reducing. To investigate possible gender differences in the development of juvenile delinquency, we analyzed data from the International Self-Report Delinquency Study 2 (ISRD2) and 3 (ISRD-3), from which we selected a sample of young people aged between 12 and 16 years.
We focused on the differences between males and females with regard to the type and gravity, the onset of deviant behavior, the probability of being apprehended by the police and the probability of victimization, comparing the two waves of the study.
Differences in antisocial behavior between males and females varied among different countries. Nevertheless, male gender proved to be a specific risk factor for juvenile delinquency, particularly for serious crimes. From the chronological standpoint, juvenile delinquency increased with age, while the ratio between male and female delinquency did not change significantly with age. Comparing the two waves of ISRD, we noticed a convergence between males and females.