A test of Moffitt's hypotheses of delinquency abstention

J. C. Barnes, Kevin M. Beaver, Alex R. Piquero

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23 Citations (Scopus)


Criminologists have long noted that a small subset of the population will abstain from delinquent activity, even during adolescence, when such behavior is normative. Moffitt's developmental taxonomy in particular hypothesizes that abstainers "skip" the maturity gap and are likely social isolates who do not associate with peers. The current study assesses this hypothesis by examining whether the maturity gap and peer associations are associated with abstention from delinquency. Findings are consistent with Moffitt's hypotheses. Specifically, the maturity gap, the amount of time spent with peers, and the amount of contact with drug-using peers were significant predictors of abstention for males and females.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)690-709
Number of pages20
JournalCriminal Justice and Behavior
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • abstention
  • delinquency
  • maturity gap
  • peers

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