Multiple gating: A multistage assessment procedure for identifying youths at risk for delinquency

Rolf Loeber, Thomas J. Dishion, Gerald R. Patterson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

82 Scopus citations


A multistage screening device, called “multiple gating,” is presented to screen delinquent youths from nondelinquent youths. The concurrent validity of the screening device was tested on a sample of 102 12- to 16-year-old boys. The multiple-gating component consisted of three increasingly more expensive sequential assessments. Teacher ratings of the boys' problem behavior in the school constituted the first gate. A risk group derived from this first gate was then assessed again by means of the parents' telephone report of conduct problems at home. The risk group derived from this second gate was subsequently assessed by means of the most expensive screening, an interview with the child and parents about family-management practices. Results show that each successive gate improved the percentage of valid positives, from 24.5% to 56.3%. The three gates produced error rates of 43.8% false positives and 5.8% false negatives. The screening device correctly classified 86% of the recidivists. The average self-reported delinquency of the youths in the risk group was found to be significantly higher than that in the nonrisk group, suggesting the eventual predictive validity of the screening procedure. The multiple-gating procedure classified delinquent and nondelinquent youths as well as an optimal single-stage screening procedure; furthermore, the multiple-gating procedure was 58% less expensive.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7-32
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Research in Crime and Delinquency
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1984

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology


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