Marital Failure and the Aggravation of Criminal Behavior

David W.M. Sorensen, Rutgers University

ABSTRACT
Sampson and Laub (1993) have demonstrated a relationship between involvement in committed, affectionate marriages and desistance from offending. The current study focuses on their reference category by examining the criminological implications of low-bonded marriages and other forms of marital failure. Data are drawn from seven waves of the National Youth Survey (sub-sample n=1,621; ages 11-27) and analyzed within a pooled time-series, fixed effects framework. The results are difficult to reconcile with the social control perspective typically used to explain the marriage-desistance relationship.

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Updated 05/20/2006