The long and short-range effects of juvenile delinquency, a scourge of modern western society, have long been known. However, the causes of juvenile delinquency are not so visible. There are many factors to blame that vary with each juvenile delinquent. In making a concise study of the causes of juvenile delinquency, one might first seek to divide the topic into the nature versus nurture argument. On one hand, there are causes for delinquency that are attributable to biological factors inherent at birth. On the other hand, the delinquent’s natural, physical, and social environment also contribute to delinquent behavior. What follows is a report on both the natural and biologically inherent factors that have been found to contribute to juvenile delinquency.
Of natural causes, or those factors attributable to biological circumstances present at birth, tobacco use by the mother during pregnancy has been linked to early signs of delinquent behavior in juveniles. Recent research has specifically shown a direct correlation between “.... youths whose mothers smoked during pregnancy...” and “... severe antisocial behavior, including conduct disorder and delinquency”. In fact, statistics drawn from the same study show an “... association between maternal smoking during pregnancy and severe antisocial behavior...” to the extent that the “... odds of developing severe antisocial behavior are approximately 1.5 to 4 times greater for exposed than for nonexposed youths”. What is not conclusive from the tobacco study is whether or not the delinquency is caused from physiological factors involving in utero exposure to nicotine or the presence of other habits and social norms among mothers who chose to smoke during pregnancy.
The risks involved with smoking during pregnancy are generally well known. Mothers that forgo giving up tobacco during pregnancy – in the face of knowledge of its harmful effects on the fetus – might be of the sort to do other drugs during pregnancy as well as continue to shirk responsibility for their child’s well being after birth. Evidence also points towards physiological factors involving the fetus’ exposure to nicotine.