Examining Stability and Change in Criminal Offending: A Life-Course Approach

Elaine Eggleston, University of Maryland at College Park

This research focuses on the stability and change in offending over developmental transitions throughout the life course. While there is considerable stability at successive stages of the life course, within-individual change is also apparent. What factors affect these patterns of offending in the same individuals over time? This research will draw on longitudinal data from the classic study of juvenile delinquency and adult crime by Sheldon and Eleanor Blueck and subsequent follow-up to age 70 conducted by John Laub and Robert Sampson. The overarching goal of the paper is to examine and explicate stability and change in offending trajectories over the life course. Theories such as Thornberry's life-course interactional theory, Farrington's developmental life course theory, and Sampson and Laub's age-graded theory of informal social control will be assessed in light of the findings.

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Updated 05/20/2006