Predictors of police contact among Midwestern homeless and runaway youth

Lisa Thrane, Xiaojin Chen, Kurt Johnson, Les B. Whitbeck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Research has substantiated that homeless and runaway youth are at high risk for offending and deviant behavior. Although gender, abuse, and deviant peers have been implicated in arrests among homeless youth, we know less about whether these precursors operate similarly for police harassment as well as for postrunaway arrest. In a study of 361 Midwestern homeless and runaway youth, several differences were noted between the predictors of arrest and police harassment. First, path-analytic techniques demonstrated that having deviant friends promoted harassment but not arrest. Second, substance use was the impetus for police harassment, whereas age at first runaway was consequential for arrest. Third, physically abused youth encountered more harassment, yet minor delinquent behavior increased the risk of arrest.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)227-239
Number of pages13
JournalYouth Violence and Juvenile Justice
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2008


  • Arrest
  • Homeless and runaway adolescents
  • Police harassment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Law

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