News

Learning “Soft Skills” Helps Prevent Later Crime and Delinquency

Teaching elementary-age students “soft” skills like self-control, sharing and empathy might help keep at-risk kids out of criminal trouble in the future, according to a study co-authored by Kenneth Dodge. In looking at the data from nearly 900 students, researchers found that about a third of the impact on future crime outcomes was due to the social and self-regulation skills the students learned from ages 6 to 11.

“These [soft] skills should be emphasized even more in our education system and in our system of socializing children,” says Dodge, a professor of public policy and of psychology and neuroscience and director of the Center for Child and Family Policy. Parents should do all they can to promote these skills with their children, Dodge says, as should education policymakers.

Read More »

News

Witnessing Drug Use Can Prompt Same-Day Antisocial Behavior in Teens

Teens who witness others drinking alcohol or using drugs are more likely to engage in antisocial behavior on the same day, according to a new study at Duke University. The risk is significantly greater for those with a certain “risk-taking” gene associated with sensitivity to substance use exposure.

“Past research has shown that children who grow up in families, schools, and neighborhoods where alcohol and drugs are frequently used are at risk for behavioral problems later in life, but our findings demonstrate that these effects are immediate,” said Candice Odgers, associate professor in Duke’s Sanford School of Public Policy and associate director of the Duke Center for Child and Family Policy.

Read More »