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A Longitudinal Assessment of Head Injuries as a Source of Acquired Neuropsychological Deficits and the Implications for Criminal Persistence

NCJ Number
Justice Quarterly Dated: 2019
Date Published
10 pages
Making use of the Pathways to Desistance study (1,336 individuals across 84 months), the current study examined the impact of head injuries on criminal persistence.

Few studies have identified factors that may promote criminal persistence. One such influence may be acquired neuropsychological deficits, or subtle changes to brain structure or functioning stemming from detrimental experiences. Head injuries represent one source of acquired neuropsychological deficits that have been linked to increased levels of offending and are differentially concentrated within justice involved populations. The results of multilevel longitudinal models revealed that within-individual changes in head injury were associated with increases in self-reported offending, violent offending in particular. A less consistent pattern was observed for arrest and nonviolent offending, indicating that head injury may differentially impact specific forms of criminal persistence. These results provide preliminary evidence that acquired neuropsychological deficits, head injuries more directly, result in prolonged periods of criminal persistence. (publisher abstract modified)

Date Published: January 1, 2019