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Routine Activities and Individual Deviant Behavior

D. Wayne Osgood, Janet K. Wilson, Patrick M. O'Malley, Jerald G. Bachman and Lloyd D. Johnston
American Sociological Review
Vol. 61, No. 4 (Aug., 1996), pp. 635-655
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2096397
Page Count: 21
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Routine Activities and Individual Deviant Behavior
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Abstract

We extend the routine activity perspective's situational analysis of crime to individual offending and to a broad range of deviant behaviors. In this view, unstructured socializing with peers in the absence of authority figures presents opportunities for deviance: In the presence of peers, deviant acts will be easier and more rewarding; the absence of authority figures reduces the potential for social control responses to deviance; and the lack of structure leaves time available for deviant behavior. To determine whether individuals who spend more time in unstructured socializing activities engage in deviant behaviors more frequently, we analyzed within-individual changes in routine activities and deviance across five waves of data for a national sample of more than 1,700 18- to 26-year-olds. Participation in these routine activities was strongly associated with criminal behavior, heavy alcohol use, use of marijuana and other illicit drugs, and dangerous driving. Furthermore, routine activities accounted for a substantial portion of the association between these deviant behaviors and age, sex, and socioeconomic status.

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