Variables that initiate and maintain an early-onset trajectory for juvenile offending

Dev Psychopathol. 1998 Summer;10(3):531-47. doi: 10.1017/s0954579498001734.


A trajectory defined by three time-ordered events was offered as a useful adjunct to building a development theory about antisocial behaviors. A sequence was defined with significant linkages between antisocial childhood behavior and early arrest and between early arrest and chronic offending. The majority of chronic offenders traveled through all three events in the sequence. Each event in the sequence shared a common process of disrupted family process plus frequent family transitions and marked social disadvantage. The findings support the hypothesis that the process that leads to antisocial behaviors at grade four may also maintain the entire sequence. The level of disrupted process at initiation and a time-based measure of involvement with deviant peers predicted which individuals moved forward in the sequence and which did not. The findings are consistent with the idea that the majority of chronic offending juveniles follow a trajectory that can be explained by a single theory.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Antisocial Personality Disorder
  • Child
  • Child Behavior*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Family
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Juvenile Delinquency / psychology*
  • Juvenile Delinquency / statistics & numerical data*
  • Male
  • Models, Psychological*
  • Models, Statistical
  • Oregon
  • Parent-Child Relations
  • Psychological Tests
  • Psychology, Child
  • Regression Analysis
  • Socioeconomic Factors