Childhood Predictors of Self-Reported and Official Criminal Career Parameters

David P. Farrington, University of Cambridge
Darrick Jolliffe, University of Cambridge
J. David Hawkins, University of Washington
Karl G. Hill, University of Washington

The main aim of this paper is to study childhood risk factors for criminal career features (prevalence, frequency, and age of onset). Previously, Gottfredson and Hirschi argued that risk factors were the same for all career features. Criminal career features are measured using (a) court referrals and (b) self-reports. Since most knowledge about criminal career features is based on official records, it is important to investigate how far results are similar using self-reports. Data are analyzed from the Seattle Social Development Project, which is a prospective longitudinal survey of 808 youths. Annual court and self-report data are available from age 11 to age 17 for 8 offenses. Risk factors were measured at age 10: gender, ethnicity, poverty, family structure, family management (supervision, reinforcement and discipline), parental antisocial behavior, peer antisocial involvement, school bonding, academic achievement, antisocial beliefs, and neighborhood disorganization. Logistic and multiple regression analyses are used to investigate the most important childhood risk factors for prevalence, frequency, and age of onset of delinquency between ages 11 and 17.

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Updated 05/20/2006