Criminal conduct subgroups of "aging out" foster youth

Robert C. McMahon, Samantha A. Fields

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Subgroups of adolescents drawn from the Midwest Study of the Adult Functioning of Former Foster Youth were identified on the basis of cluster analysis of self-reported criminal behavior: Cluster 1: No Criminal Activity (n=204), Cluster 2: Moderate Criminal Conduct (n=300), Cluster 3: Extensive Criminal Involvement (n=87), and Cluster 4: Group Fighting (n=139). Logistic regression analysis revealed higher proportions of foster youth with alcohol and drug diagnoses, male gender, out of school status, and limited caregiver closeness in each of the groups in which there was evidence of significant criminal conduct (Clusters 2, 3, & 4) in comparison to the no criminal activity group (Cluster 1). The same variables contributed to discrimination between the cluster subgroup with the most serious and pervasive pattern of criminal conduct (Cluster 3) and the two with less extensive criminal involvement (Clusters 2 & 4). Current findings and those of G. R. Cusick, M. E. Courtney, J. Havlicek & N. Hess (2010), help in identifying the differing needs of youth aging out of the child welfare system and should be useful in informing development of targeted interventions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14-19
Number of pages6
JournalChildren and Youth Services Review
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015


  • Aging out
  • Criminal subgroups
  • Foster youth
  • Placement experiences
  • Psychiatric diagnoses
  • Social bonds

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Education
  • Sociology and Political Science


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