Criminal Involvement, Risky Sexual Behavior, Relationship Formation, and Fertility Outcomes


Ganser, Brittany (2023). Criminal Involvement, Risky Sexual Behavior, Relationship Formation, and Fertility Outcomes.


While the field of criminology has focused on turning points that could shift individuals away from crime, little research has examined how criminal offending shapes sexual behaviors, adult relationships, and achieved fertility. Those involved in criminal activity arguably could face worse outcomes in these behaviors, largely due to considerations of labeling theory, where stigma could result in difficulty finding relationship partners. Certain types of crime may also be more stigmatizing than others, making one less desirable as a partner. This effect may be gendered in nature, such that certain types of crime may be more damaging for women as opposed to men. My project draws on criminology literature on labeling theory, the age-graded theory of social control, and social homogamy to predict numerous sexual, relationship, and fertility outcomes. Using Waves I, III, and IV of the National Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (Add Health), the following studies examine the impact of criminal activity on a variety of risky sexual behaviors, relationship type, and fertility outcomes. I find that both types of crime predict a younger age at first sex and more opposite-sex partners, though gender differences exist in how well the mechanisms included explain these relationships. While property crime initially decreases early union risk for women, this type of criminal behavior increases early union risk for men. Violent crime decreased early union risk for both gender groups, but the relationship only remained significant for women. Violent crime decreased the odds of Multiple-Partner Fertility (MPF), but only in reference to Single-Partner Fertility (SPF). Overall, linkages existed between the outcomes of all three studies.



risky sexual behavior

Reference Type



Ganser, Brittany

Year Published



Bowling Green State University

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