Problem Behavior, Job Performance, and Social Relationships: Psychosocial Functioning of Young Men as a Consequence of Different Offender Trajectories

Margit Wiesner, University of Alabama at Birmingham
Deborah M. Capaldi, Oregon Social Learning Center

In the present study it is examined whether psychosocial functioning of young adult men (i.e., at ages 23-24) is a consequence of different offending trajectories from late childhood through early adulthood, controlling for early precursors of the outcome in question and other relevant variables. Three areas of young adult functioning are explored: Problem behavior, job performance, and social relations. Results will illuminate whether different offender trajectory groups show similar detrimental long-term outcomes of their engagement in delinquency during adolescence. The men filled out the Elliott Delinquency Scale (Elliott et al., 1983) at twelve annual assessment waves (mean age at first wave= 12.85, SD= 41). Using the growth mixture modeling method (M-PLUS 2.0), five trajectories of delinquency were identified: major offenders, moderate offenders, decreasing moderate offenders, decreasing major offenders, and abstainers. Psychosocial functioning in young adulthood was predicted by delinquency trajectory groups, controlling for age, family income and SES, criminal behavior of parents and association with delinquent friends in childhood, and childhood/adolescent proxies of the outcome in question. Preliminary results suggested better psychosocial functioning of all groups relative to the major offenders (i.e., the group with the worst offending trajectory) for several young adult outcomes.

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Updated 05/20/2006