Violent and non-violent criminal behavior among young chinese drug users: A mixed methods study

Liu Liu, Wing Hong Chui, Ye Chen

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Young drug users are found to be increasingly involved in criminal justice issues. This exploratory and descriptive study aims to analyze the criminal behaviors among young Chinese drug users through a mixed methods research design. Quantitative analysis indicates that young drug users with and without a history of criminality show significant differences in terms of several features. Male drug users, particularly, those who are older, with religious beliefs, and initiated into drug use at younger age were most likely to commit crimes. Among drug users with criminal experiences, those who committed crimes prior to drug initiation have a greater likelihood of committing violent crimes. Furthermore, young drug users with severe depression are more likely to commit crimes, especially violent ones. Qualitative analysis further illustrates that young male drug users often get involved in criminal conduct of the youth gang nature with propensity for engaging in violent crimes as compared to their female counterparts who are more likely to turn into drug dealers and traffickers, in addition to engaging in larceny. The research findings are consistent with developmental theories and “victim to offender cycle”. Integrated mental health and substance use services are suggested for crime prevention among young Chinese drug users.

Original languageEnglish
Article number432
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2 Mar 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Criminal experience
  • Mental health
  • Mixed methods
  • Violence
  • Young Chinese drug users

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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