Major Life Events and Monthly Patterns of Crime

Jennifer A. Bailey, University of Washington
Karl G. Hill, University of Washington
J. David Hawkins, University of Washington
Richard F. Catalano, University of Washington

Existing literature has identified a relationship between the assumptionm of adult roles and declining criminal behavior during early adulthood (e.g., Sampson & Laub, 1990. The majority of work in this area, however, uses a broad-bushed approach and focuses on change over relatively large time intervals of a year or more. This syrategy precludes a more fine analysis of the timing and duration of change in criminal behavior associated with assumption of or change in adult roles. This study examines the covariation of criminal behavior and major life events on a month-by-month level, and addresses the issues of timing and duration with regard to change. The sample is from the Seattle Social Development Project, a longitudinal panel study of 808 individuals recruited in 1985 from elementary schools servinh high-crime neighborhoods. The present analyses make use of retrospective calendar data spanning the ages of 21-24 that were obtained when participants were aged 24 years. As in Horney, Osgood, and Marshall (1995), Hierarchical Generalized Linear Modeling is used to assess the effects of major life events, such as marriage, divorce, birth of a child, and job loss, on the month-by-month probability of engagement in crime. The Social Development Model is used as an explanatory framework, and mediators suggested by the model are tested.

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Updated 05/20/2006