A Longitudinal Study of Early Adolescent Precursors to Running Away

Kimberly A. Tyler and Bianca E. Bersani

February 2008

Although previous research has examined correlates of running away among samples of currently homeless and runaway adolescents, little is known about what factors will predict the likelihood that a housed adolescent with no prior history of running away will leave home. As such, the current study uses the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth to examine predictors of running away among a diverse sample of housed adolescents ages 12 through 13. Results indicate that socioeconomic status, being African American or Hispanic, and monitoring were significantly predictive of a decrease in the mean rate of running away in mid-adolescence. In contrast, being female, neighborhood victimization, personal victimization, school suspension, and delinquency all significantly increased the expected frequency of running away. Although findings provide some support for previous cross-sectional studies, they also point to the importance of young people's community environment as a risk factor for leaving home.

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