General Versus Specific Predictors of Male Arrest Trajectories: A Test of the Moffitt and Patterson Theories

Margit Wiesner, Deborah M. Capaldi, Hyoun K. Kim

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10 Citations (Scopus)


Developmental taxonomies of crime disagree on whether distinctive offender trajectories are related to common or unique risks. This study examined childhood risks of differing arrest trajectories across childhood through early adulthood (from ages 10-11 to 26-27 years) that were identified in prior work for 203 at-risk, predominantly Caucasian young men. Multivariate analyses revealed that when both distal (childhood risk factors) and proximal risk factors (deviant peer association as a time-varying covariate) were included in the model, relatively few childhood risk factors (assessed at age 9-10 years) discriminated the chronic offender groups from rare offenders (i.e., child antisocial behavior, child attention problems, parents' antisocial behavior). Rather, deviant peer association was significantly related to levels of offending within each trajectory group (i. e., chronic and rare offender groups). No predictor differentially predicted membership in the two chronic groups, supporting the linear gradation argument. Theoretical and prevention implications are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)217-228
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Youth and Adolescence
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Feb

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgments The project described was supported by awards from National Institutes of Health (NIH), US PHS to Dr. Capaldi: Award Number 1R01AA018669 (Understanding Alcohol Use over Time in Early Mid-Adulthood for At-Risk Men) from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA); HD 46364 (Risk for Dysfunctional Relationships in Young Adults) from the National Institute of Child Health and Development (NICHD); and R01 DA 015485 (Adjustment Problems and Substance Use in Three Generations) from the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA). The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the NIH, NIAAA, NICHD, or NIDA. We thank Jane Wilson and the Oregon Youth Study team for high quality data collection, and Sally Schwader for editorial assistance with this manuscript.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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