Education and Delinquent and Non-Delinquent Life Course Consequences

Thomas G. Blomberg, Forida State University
Spencer De Li, Florida State University
Kristin Parsons Winokur, Florida State University/
George Pesta, Florida State University

The life course paradigm has emerged in recent years as a promising contribution to criminological theory. The life course perspective draws from multiple disciplines that include sociology, history, psychology and biology and conceptualizes life as a sequence of different but related phases. These different phases are separated by ordered transitions in which certain events and experiences are expected to precede subsequent events and experiences. A major focus of prior delinquency and life course research has been upon determining the relationship between various delinquent indicators and subsequent educational and occupational trajectories. The consistent finding is that such delinquent indicators as truancy, property damage, drugs, violence and contact with the justice system have significantly negative effects on subsequent educational attainment and occupational achievement even after controlling for race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status and cognitive abilities. In sum, the conclusion drawn from this research is that teen delinquents do indeed suffer in their later life experiences. Notably absent from the delinquency and life course research have been studies focused upon a comparison of the role of positive and negative adolescent experiences with, for example, education upon subsequent life course trajectories for delinquent and non-delinquent youth. If the life course paradigm is correct then both negative and positive adolescent experiences with education should be related to subsequent life course trajectories and consequences.

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Updated 05/20/2006