College Aspirations Among Incarcerated Juvenile Offenders: The Importance of Maternal Education and Neglect

Kristen P. Kremer, Michael G. Vaughn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Youth incarcerated in juvenile detention facilities in Western Pennsylvania completed questionnaires related to family history, educational attainment, and psychological traits. Linear regression models were conducted to examine the influence of family and individual trait factors on youth’s aspirations to attend college. Nearly 90% of youth aspired to attend college. Findings from regression analyses indicate that maternal education, neglect, and youth irresponsibility were significantly associated with aspirations. In particular, juveniles with a mother who completed some college or more had 3.37 times greater odds of aspiring to attend college compared to juveniles with a mother who had a high school diploma or less (OR = 3.37, 95% confidence interval [CI] = [1.02, 11.11]). Additionally, juveniles experiencing greater neglect (OR = 0.42, 95% CI [0.18, 0.94]) and reporting higher irresponsibility (OR = 0.84, 95% CI [0.72, 0.99]) were less likely to have college aspirations. Practitioners should capitalize upon aspirations to attend college and help youth establish concrete plans for turning their aspirations into reality.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)431-447
Number of pages17
JournalYouth Violence and Juvenile Justice
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Oct 1

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This research was supported by grants from the Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education (R3214A100022, R305F100013, and R305A150058) and support from The Meadows Center for Preventing Educational Risk.

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2018.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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


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