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Adulthood-limited offending: How much is there to explain?
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Criminology.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-6191-7002
2018 (English)In: Journal of criminal justice, ISSN 0047-2352, E-ISSN 1873-6203, Vol. 55, p. 58-70Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Purpose

The current study explores male and female adult-onset offending careers in a Swedish population-based longitudinal dataset comprising five successive birth cohorts which are followed prospectively on the basis of detailed conviction data to age 50.

Methods

Adult-onset offenders are compared to juvenile-onset offenders on a number of criminal career measures. Growth curve analysis is employed to visualize average trajectories for convictions during adulthood.

Results

The study found that 22% of convicted males and 38% of convicted females were convicted for the first time for offenses committed between ages 25 and 50. The adult-onset males contributed 19% of all male adulthood convictions and 16% of male violent convictions in adulthood. The adult-onset females contributed 47% of all female adulthood convictions and 48% of female violent convictions in adulthood. While the adolescent-onset trajectories displayed generally decreasing trends for offending in adulthood, adult-onset females displayed increasing trends in relation to trajectories of violence and drug/alcohol-related offending as they approached middle adulthood.

Conclusions

There is a need for developmental and life-course theories of crime to be explicit in explaining adult-onset offending, particularly in relation to gender disparities.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018. Vol. 55, p. 58-70
Keywords [en]
Criminal career, Developmental and life-course criminology, Adult-onset offending, Gender, Population studies, Growth curve
National Category
Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)
Research subject
Criminology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-153411DOI: 10.1016/j.jcrimjus.2018.02.002ISI: 000428956500006OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-153411DiVA, id: diva2:1186417
Projects
The inequality of the crime dropAvailable from: 2018-02-28 Created: 2018-02-28 Last updated: 2018-09-12Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Criminal Careers in the Long Run: Patterns and Predictions of Criminal Convictions across Age, Time, and Gender
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Criminal Careers in the Long Run: Patterns and Predictions of Criminal Convictions across Age, Time, and Gender
2018 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Why is it that a small proportion of the population accounts for the majority of crime? This question has stimulated a great deal of theoretical and methodological controversy in criminology. In essence, the debate is rooted in different theoretical underpinnings of continuity and change in crime, and the extent to which it is possible to foresee a life of crime by zeroing in on at-risk juvenile offenders. The current thesis explores four contentious empirical issues that may move this debate forward: the long-term predictability of persistent offending in adulthood on the basis of childhood risk factors (Study I); the magnitude of adult-onset offending (Study II); the predictive value of gender for criminal recidivism (Study III); and the association between birth cohort membership and criminal career parameters (Study IV). All four studies employ longitudinal Swedish administrative data, based on cohorts of individuals born between the early 1940s and the mid-1980s, and followed on the basis of detailed conviction data. The thesis also utilizes qualitative life-history narratives with former at-risk juvenile delinquents. The results suggest that theories aiming to explain crime beyond the transition to adulthood should incorporate factors presumed to cause within-individual change, even among high-risk juvenile offenders. Although childhood cumulative risk, including a wide range of individual, family, school, and peer measures, were clearly associated with adult crime, they had limited value for predicting those persistent offenders who eventually ended up in the tail of the crime distribution. Furthermore, although gender is generally one of the main demographic predictors of criminal convictions, the results indicate that it is important to include females for the purpose of understanding continuity and change in adulthood. This is in part because adult-onset offending is more prevalent within the female offending population than within the male offending population and in part because the risk for criminal recidivism among female offenders becomes increasingly similar to that found among male offenders as convictions accumulate over the life span. Finally, the results suggest that the typical criminal career has undergone significant changes both within and across gender groups during the period since the mid-1970s, a period which has witnessed a historical decline in the aggregate conviction rate in Sweden. Taking this into consideration, the employment and extensive analysis of longitudinal multiple cohort data ought to provide a basis for furthering our knowledge on the inherent complexity of crime trends, while at the same time also locating the study of criminal careers in its historical context.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Criminology, Stockholm University, 2018. p. 86
Series
Avhandlingsserie / Kriminologiska institutionen, Stockholms universitet, ISSN 1404-1820 ; 40
Keywords
Criminal career, Recidivism, Life course, Longitudinal, Birth cohort, Gender
National Category
Sociology Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Research subject
Criminology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-159972 (URN)978-91-7797-388-1 (ISBN)978-91-7797-389-8 (ISBN)
Public defence
2018-10-26, Hörsal 7 hus D, Universitetsvägen 10 D, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following paper was unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 4: Manuscript.

Available from: 2018-10-03 Created: 2018-09-12 Last updated: 2018-10-10Bibliographically approved

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