The Role of Early Childhood Experiences in Shaping Criminal Offending: Implications for Intervention and Prevention

A special issue of Social Sciences (ISSN 2076-0760). This special issue belongs to the section "Childhood and Youth Studies".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 May 2025 | Viewed by 282

Special Issue Editors

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Guest Editor
Department of Social Work, College of Social & Behavioral Sciences, University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls, IA 50614, USA
Interests: youth outcomes from adverse childhood experiences, i.e., juvenile delinquency & substance use; risk and protective factors of juvenile delinquency; intersectionality of juvenile justice and child welfare—dual supervision youth/crossover youth; racial/ethnic and gender differences in child maltreatment and delinquency, domestic violence/intimate partner violence in immigrant women with acculturation and gender norms

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Guest Editor
Kent School of Social Work and Family Science, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY 40292, USA
Interests: the impact of adverse family environment on individuals’ health and well-being

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Extensive research demonstrates that early childhood experiences profoundly shape individuals later in life. In particular, adverse childhood experiences have been found to lead to chronic health conditions, risky health behaviors, mental health issues, behavioral challenges, and negative social outcomes. While every child deserves love and protection, many sadly endure adversities, including but not limited to abuse, neglect, exposure to domestic violence, and growing up in dysfunctional and violent environments. The literature documents that these adverse childhood experiences also significantly elevate the risk of engaging in delinquency and serious criminal activities during adolescence and adulthood, turning victims into perpetrators. This jeopardizes not only the well-being of those affected but also the community as a whole. Understanding the link between early childhood experiences and criminal behavior is pivotal for developing effective prevention and intervention strategies to protect children and the community. However, research on this connection remains limited, warranting further exploration. 

We cordially invite scholars studying the impact of adverse childhood experiences on criminal behavior to contribute their research and insights to guide prevention and intervention efforts in this Special Issue.

Dr. Sei-Young Lee
Dr. Lixia Zhang
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • adverse childhood experiences
  • criminal behavior
  • offending 
  • violent environment
  • dysfunctional environment
  • domestic violence

Published Papers

This special issue is now open for submission.
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