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Aggress Behav. 2009 Mar-Apr;35(2):150-63. doi: 10.1002/ab.20296.

Development of adolescence-limited, late-onset, and persistent offenders from age 8 to age 48.

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Institute of Criminology, Cambridge University, Cambridge, United Kingdom.


This article investigates the life success at ages 32 and 48 of four categories of males: nonoffenders, adolescence-limited offenders (convicted only at ages 10-20), late-onset offenders (convicted only at ages 21-50), and persistent offenders (convicted at both ages 10-20 and 21-50). In the Cambridge Study in Delinquent Development, 411 South London males have been followed up from age 8 to 48 in repeated personal interviews. There was considerable continuity in offending over time. Persistent offenders had the longest criminal careers (averaging 18.4 years), and most of them had convictions for violence. Persistent offenders were leading the most unsuccessful lives at ages 32 and 48, although all categories of males became more successful with age. By age 48, the life success of adolescence-limited offenders was similar to that of nonoffenders. The most important risk factors at ages 8-18 that predicted which offenders would persist after age 21 were heavy drinking at age 18, hyperactivity at ages 12-14, and low popularity and harsh discipline at ages 8-10. The most important risk factors that predicted which nonoffenders would onset after age 21 were poor housing and low nonverbal IQ at ages 8-10, high neuroticism at age 16, and anti-establishment attitudes and motoring convictions at age 18. It was suggested that nervousness and neuroticism may have protected children at risk from offending in adolescence and the teenage years.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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