Research offers a wide range of factors that are associated with the development of disruptive behaviour. Offending can be attributed to four kinds of risk and protective factors: individual risk factors, family risk factors, peer risk factors, and school risk factors, and community risk factors. However, the signs that a child is heading toward offending varies from child to child and usually a result of combination of many factors (University of Pittsburg, 2002).The prevalence of one or more risk factors in a child's life is not always the best predictor of outcomes and children vary in terms of how they respond to risk. Risk factors are context-dependent and vary over time and with different circumstances. Where a combination of risk factors exist, a poor outcomes for the children is increased (McCarthy, 2004). For example, poor parenting is a risk factor, but when coupled with a child's poor academic performance in a school where rules of conduct are laidback and teachers are dissatisfied, the chances of the child actually committing a crime increases (University of Pittsburg, 2002).The predictors of offending varies according to age group. For children aged between 6 and 11, committing an offence appears to be the best predictor of future delinquent behaviour; the strongest predictors for children aged 12 to 14 are a lack of social ties and association with antisocial peers (McCarthy, 2004). Risk and protective factors changes over time. ...
The most important predictors, at age 8-10, of later delinquency (whether measured by convictions or by self-reports) fell into six categories of theoretical constructs (Farrington, 1994):
(1) Antisocial child behaviour, including troublesomeness in school, dishonesty and
(2)Hyperactivity-impulsivity-attention deficit, including poor concentration,
restlessness, daring and psychomotor impulsivity.
(3) Low intelligence and poor school attainment.
(4) Family criminality, including convicted parents, delinquent older siblings, and
siblings with behaviour problem.
(5) Family poverty, including low family income, large family size, and poor housing.
(6) Poor parental child-rearing behaviour, including harsh and authoritarian discipline,
poor supervision, parental conflict and separation from parents.
Assessing Family-based Risk
The influence of family is an essential factor in child development. Family management problems, family conflict and inappropriate modelling behaviours such as parental involvement
in criminal activities, drug abuse or heavy drinking may all affect whether a child becomes involved in delinquent and offending behaviour (McCarthy, 2004). Children and their families defy thin descriptions. Social, environmental, and family risk factors tend to cluster, and any number of them can occur together within the same family (Wasserman et al, 2003). For some children, the primary risk factor may be a family risk factor such as lack of parental supervision; for others, it may be an individual risk factor such as a diagnosis