Heterogeneity in drug abuse among juvenile offenders: Is mixture regression more informative than standard regression?

Katherine L. Montgomery, Michael G. Vaughn, Sanna J. Thompson, Matthew O. Howard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Research on juvenile offenders has largely treated this population as a homogeneous group. However, recent findings suggest that this at-risk population may be considerably more heterogeneous than previously believed. This study compared mixture regression analyses with standard regression techniques in an effort to explain how known factors such as distress, trauma, and personality are associated with drug abuse among juvenile offenders. Researchers recruited 728 juvenile offenders from Missouri juvenile correctional facilities for participation in this study. Researchers investigated past-year substance use in relation to the following variables: demographic characteristics (gender, ethnicity, age, familial use of public assistance), antisocial behavior, and mental illness symptoms (psychopathic traits, psychiatric distress, and prior trauma). Results indicated that standard and mixed regression approaches identified significant variables related to past-year substance use among this population; however, the mixture regression methods provided greater specificity in results. Mixture regression analytic methods may help policy makers and practitioners better understand and intervene with the substance-related subgroups of juvenile offenders.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1326-1346
Number of pages21
JournalInternational Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2013 Nov

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Applied Psychology


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