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The Influence Of Early School Punishment And Therapy/Medication On Social Control Experiences During Young Adulthood


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The use of suspensions and expulsions by American public school administrators has increased dramatically over the past 40 years. Meanwhile, a growing number of childhood misbehaviors have been diagnosed by doctors as medical conditions and are being treated with therapy or medication. As these trends develop at different rates for boys of different racial and ethnic groups, the connection between childhood and adult social control remains untested empirically. By using a prospective panel of 3,274 White, Black, and Hispanic males (15,675 person‐years) and multilevel logistic models, I examine whether and how school punishment and/or the use of therapy or medication during childhood contributes to involvement in the criminal justice or mental health systems during young adulthood. The findings suggest that school punishment is associated with greater odds of involvement in the criminal justice system but not the mental health system. The use of therapy and/or medication during childhood is associated with higher odds of involvement in the mental health system but not the criminal justice system. Finally, although the relationship between school punishment and involvement with the criminal justice system is similar for White, Black, and Hispanic men, the relationship between medicalized social control during childhood and young adulthood is stronger for Whites than for non‐Whites.