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

Robert J. Sampson and John H. Laub
American Sociological Review
Vol. 55, No. 5 (Oct., 1990), pp. 609-627
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2095859
Page Count: 19
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Crime and Deviance over the Life Course: The Salience of Adult Social Bonds
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Abstract

Analyzing the natural histories of two samples of boys that differ dramatically in childhood delinquency, we test a model of crime and deviance over the life course. The first hypothesis is that childhood antisocial behavior predicts problems in adult development across a wide variety of dimensions. Second, we argue that social bonds in adulthood--to work and family--explain changes in crime and deviance over the life span. The longitudinal data were reconstructed from the Gluecks' classic study of delinquent and non-delinquent males from childhood to age 32. 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, 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.

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