Criminal offending and health over the life-course: A dual-trajectory approach


Testa, Alexander & Semenza, Daniel (2020). Criminal offending and health over the life-course: A dual-trajectory approach. Journal of Criminal Justice. vol. 68


Despite a growth of research on the intersection of health and crime, limited work investigates this relationship as it evolves over the life-course. Drawing on data from four waves of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (N = 9037), the current study uses dual group-based trajectory modeling to investigate the joint development of criminal offending, physical health, and mental well-being from adolescence into young adulthood (ages 11–32). Further, multinomial logistic regression is employed to determine common sociodemographic, personality, and behavioral factors associated with multiple trajectories. Study findings suggest that individuals who persistently offend at higher rates are more likely to experience worse overall health and more depressive symptoms, whereas the lowest rate offenders have substantially lower likelihoods of physical and mental health problems. Several theoretically relevant characteristics including being male, low self-control, adolescent academic performance, and illicit drug use in adolescence predict membership in trajectories characterized by higher rates of offending and lower quality health. Theoretical and policy implications of these findings are discussed in the context of extant literature.



Criminal offending

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Journal Article

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Journal of Criminal Justice


Testa, Alexander
Semenza, Daniel

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