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Time and Crime: The Link Between Teenager Lifestyle and Delinquency

NCJ Number
Journal of Quantitative Criminology Volume: 3 Issue: 4 Dated: (December 1987) Pages: 339-354
D Riley
Date Published
16 pages
Based on data from a national survey of 14-15 year-olds and their parents in England and Wales, this study examined the relationship between adolescent lifestyles and self-reported offending.
Data from the 1983 survey were used and comprised 751 pairs of in-home interviews conducted separately with the teenagers and with one of their parents. Structured interview questions provided information about the out-of-home activities of the juveniles. This included the number of times a week they went out to see their friends and had friends into their homes, the number of friends they usually met and where they met, the latest times expected home at night during the week and on weekends, their membership in clubs and societies, and their spending patterns. The legal ways in which juveniles spent their time show consistent relationships with involvement in crime. Offenders and nonoffenders differed markedly on both general and specific measures of where they go, their friends, and what they do. Consistent with models of criminal behavior based on group processes, these differences in activity patterns also extended to a number of the major correlates of delinquency whose effects on crime are typically conceived in lifestyle terms. These results also indicate that the link between activity patterns and delinquency is different for males and females in the group surveyed. 4 tables and 30 references. (Author abstract modified)