Changes in Friendship Relations Over the Life Course: Implications for Desistance From Crime

Peggy C. Giordano, Bowling Green State University
Stephen A. Cernkovich, Bowling Green State University
Donna D. Holland, The Bowling Green State University

We analyze life history narratives and structured data derived from a longitudinal study of serious female and male offenders (n=210) originally interviewed when they were incarcerated as adolescents (1982) and followed up thirteen years later. We highlight shifts in the meaning and impact of friendship relations as respondents have matured into adulthood and suggest how such changes can facilitate the process of movement away from a criminal lifestyle. Attention to some of these more subtle and gradual developmental changes extends our recent focus (author citation, 2002) on the cognitive basis of many desistance processes, provides a critique of some aspects of differential association theory, particularly as applied to the adult context, and supplements the event-based portrait of desistance developed by Sampson and Laub (1993).

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Updated 05/20/2006