Lynne Rienner Publishers Logo

Girls and Violence: Tracing the Roots of Criminal Behavior

Judith A. Ryder
Girls and Violence: Tracing the Roots of Criminal Behavior
ISBN: 978-1-58826-838-9
2013/209 pages/LC: 2013016463
Qualitative Studies in Crime and Criminal Justice
Also of interest: The Paradox of Youth Violence by J. William Spencer
"Highly recommended."—Choice

"Ryder offers the reader a unique opportunity to hear the stories of girls who are entrenched in the deep end of the juvenile justice system. These voices ... offer a passionate reading experience about why girls engage in violence."—Jeanette M. Hussermann, Criminal Justice Review

"A path-breaking, nuanced qualitative study on girls and violence."—Frederika E. Schmitt, Gender & Society

"Ryder has made a major contribution to the field by articulating a developmental trajectory that could explain what transforms little girls into impulsive and violent young women."—Pearl Susan Berman, Psychology of Women Quarterly

"Beautifully articulated.... A truly inspirational and informative text."—Contemporary Sociology

"An important book... Ryder helps us to better understand the needs and challenges of girls in the system today."—Nikki Jones, University of California, Berkeley

"Foregrounds a powerful set of voices that vividly relate the violence and trauma-saturated nature of the lives of criminally involved young women. Ryder adroitly examines how these multiple trauma experiences feed into delinquency."—Christopher Mullins, Southern Illinois University


Seeking to better understand the processes that push teenage girls to acts of criminal violence, Judith Ryder explores the relationship between disrupted emotional bonds and violent delinquency.

Ryder draws on intimate interviews to show how teenage girls navigate experiences of abuse, emotional loss, and parental abandonment, revealing how their violent acts become a means of connecting with others—however maladaptive and misplaced those connections may be. Her work suggests viable strategies for early intervention to keep at-risk young women out of the criminal justice system.


Judith A. Ryder is associate professor of sociology at St. John's University.


  • Girls and Violence.
  • Understanding Attachment Gone Wrong.
  • The First Relationship: Parental Bonds.
  • Traumatic Childhood Experiences of Violence.
  • Traumatic Childhood Experiences of Loss.
  • Coping Strategies: Running, Drugging, and Self-Harm.
  • Illegal Acts: "I Don’t Know If You Consider That as Violence."
  • Rethinking Violence and Delinquency.