Criminal capital and the transition to adulthood


Moule Jr, Richard Kenneth (2016). Criminal capital and the transition to adulthood.


Life course criminology is characterized by a two-pronged approach to research. The first branch emphasizes social integration and involvement with pro-social institutions as turning points in the criminal career. The second branch of this work assesses how access to the institutions that facilitate social integration are conditioned by factors such as involvement in the criminal justice system. Theories of capital are chiefly concerned with social integration and the continuity of conventionality, conformity, and prosperity offered through social ties and social networks. Absent from life course criminology is a better understanding of how different forms of criminal capital can influence access to institutions like higher education, marriage, and employment during the transition to adulthood. Drawing on insights from distinct bodies of literature on peers, capital, and status attainment, the present study elaborates on the influence of criminal capital for (un)successful transitions to adulthood. Using three waves of data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (“Add Health”), the effects of adolescent criminal social capital on criminal cultural and human capital, and subsequent educational, occupational, and marital attainment in early adulthood are examined. Results from a series of regression models demonstrate that criminal social capital has minimal effects on fatalistic beliefs or thoughtful and reflective decision making, and that these forms of criminal capital generally have inconsistent effects on later life transitions. Implications for theory and future research are discussed.


Reference Type



Moule Jr, Richard Kenneth

Series Author(s)

Decker, Scott H.

Year Published


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Arizona State University

Reference ID