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Crime and Deviance Over the Life Course: The Salience of Adult Social Bonds

NCJ Number
ASR (American Sociological Review) Volume: 55 Issue: 5 Dated: (October 1990) Pages: 609-627
Date Published
19 pages
This analysis of the natural histories of two samples of boys that differed significantly in childhood delinquency tested a model of crime and deviance over the life course.
The first hypothesis tested is that childhood antisocial behavior predicts problems in adult development across a variety of dimensions. The second hypothesis tested holds that social bonds to work and family in adulthood explain changes in crime and deviance over the life span. The longitudinal data used were reconstructed from the Gluecks' classic study of delinquent and nondelinquent males from childhood to age 32. Findings show that childhood delinquency is linked to adult crime, alcohol abuse, general deviance, economic dependency, educational failure, unemployment, divorce, and even charges in the military. Despite this continuity in deviance, however, job stability and strong marital attachment in adulthood inhibit adult criminal and deviant behavior. The results support a model of informal social control that recognizes both stability and change in antisocial behavior over the life course. 7 tables, 15 footnotes, and 55 references (Author abstract modified)

Date Published: January 1, 1990