|The staring point for this paper is the familiar finding from longitudinal criminological research of two main groups of offenders (for example, as labelled by Moffitt; life-course persiters and adolescent-limited offenders). The study (which is cross-sectional) focuses on exploring the relationship between individual-risk protective characteristics, life-style risk and neighbourhood risk in adolescence. The main aim is to study the potential interaction between individual characteristics and social contexts (as represented by life-style and neighbourhoods). The data used are from a survey of about 2000 adolescents in the city of Peterborough in the United Kingdom. The findings show a strong interaction effect between individual risk-protective characteristics and life-style risk in explaining adolescent offending. The form of the interaction is analysed and three different groups of adolescent offenders are suggested: propensity-induced, life-style dependent and situationally-limited offenders. The key argument of the paper is that life-style as a risk factor for offending operates differently for different groups of adolescents classified by their risk-protective characteristics. Implications for theory and prevention are discussed.
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