Liu, Hexuan (2019). Educational Consequences of Early Crime and Punishment: Testing a Genetically Informed Life-course Model. Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association.
New York, NY.
In this study, we develop a life-course model to investigate the complex relationships among genetic inheritance, criminal justice (CJ) involvement (e.g., arrest, conviction, or incarceration), and educational outcomes. To test the model, we use whole-genome data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (Add Health) to conduct an analysis based on the most powerful polygenic score constructed to date for educational attainment (Lee et al. 2018). We find that participants with higher polygenic scores for educational attainment were significantly less likely to report CJ involvement during their adolescence. We then show the genetic association with the risk of CJ involvement is attributable to a range of individual and social factors, particularly experiences at school. Finally, we find evidence that adolescent CJ involvement mediates the associations between the education polygenic score and participants’ educational outcomes in adulthood (e.g., years of schooling, high school completion, and tertiary education participation). These findings reveal that CJ involvement at an early age may prevent individuals from realizing their full genetic potential for educational attainment. Findings in this study also provide important insights to assess the effect of genetic confounding in research of causal relationships between CJ involvement and later-in-life outcomes.
Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association
City of Publication
New York, NY