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J Abnorm Psychol. 2001 Nov;110(4):600-9.

Adolescence-limited versus persistent delinquency: extending Moffitt's hypothesis into adulthood.

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  • 1Center of Alcohol Studies, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, Piscataway 08854-8001, USA. hewhite@rci.rutgers.edu


The authors examined how neuropsychological, personality, and environmental risk factors and their interactions were related to trajectories of delinquent behavior from adolescence to adulthood. Four waves of longitudinal data from 698 male participants, ages 12-18 at Time 1 and ages 25-31 at Time 4, were included in the analyses. Using a growth mixture model approach, 4 trajectories were identified: nondelinquents, adolescence-limited delinquents, adolescence-to-adulthood-persistent delinquents, and escalating delinquents. Five risk factors distinguished escalating from persistent delinquents and 5 also distinguished nondelinquents from the 3 delinquency trajectories. Persistent delinquents scored significantly higher than adolescence-limited delinquents on only one risk factor, disinhibition. Overall, few of the factors that are related to childhood-to-adolescence persistence were associated with persistence in delinquency beyond adolescence.

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