Title

A Life-Course Perspective on Stress, Delinquency, and Young Adult Crime

Keywords

stress, general strain theory, life-course, delinquency, young adult crime

Abstract

This study uses General Strain Theory (GST) to describe and examine one potential pathway of delinquency/crime escalation and de-escalation across adolescence and young adulthood. In particular, the time-varying consequences for delinquent behavior and young adult crime of persistent or increasing levels of strain are addressed using data from the Family Health Study, an eight-year longitudinal data set (n = 840). The results indicate that there is a positive association between experiencing one type of strain—stressful life events—and involvement in delinquent or criminal behavior during this period of the life-course. However, the impact of stressful life events on these behaviors is diminished among young adults. Moreover, delinquent/criminal peer associations attenuate the age-specific effects of stressful life events, thus suggesting that peers play a central role in the association between strain and these behaviors. Implications of the results for theory and policy are discussed.

Original Publication Citation

Hoffmann, John P. 2010. “A Life-Course Perspective on Stress, Delinquency, and Young Adult Crime.” American Journal of Criminal Justice 35(3): 105-120.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date

2010-04-13

Publisher

American Journal of Criminal Justice

Language

English

College

Family, Home, and Social Sciences

Department

Sociology

University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor

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