The current study examines if childhood abuse increases the likelihood of criminal recidivism through four potential mediators—deviant peers, substance abuse, running away from home, and internalizing behaviours (i.e., anxiety, depression), and determine if these relationships vary across gender. To test these relationships, a prospective research design was used with 332 justice-involved youth (113 females, 219 males; ages 12-21). Official provincial recidivism data was obtained and the average follow up time was 30.43 months (SD = 4.96). Overall, substance abuse and deviant peers
significantly and positively mediated the relationship between childhood abuse and criminal recidivism for males only. Internalizing behaviours and running away from home, however, were not found to mediate the relationship between child abuse and criminal recidivism for either gender. Limitations include reliance on a simplistic measure of childhood abuse. Results suggest that an integrated approach of combining gender-neutral and gender-specific theories of criminal behaviour is warranted.