Comparing official and self-report records of offending across gender and race/ethnicity in a longitudinal study of serious youthful offenders

Alex R. Piquero, Carol A. Schubert, Robert Brame

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

131 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: Researchers have used both self-reports and official records to measure the prevalence and frequency of crime and delinquency. Few studies have compared longitudinally the validity of these two measures across gender and race/ethnicity in order to assess concordance.

Methods: Using data from the Pathways to Desistance, a longitudinal study of 1,354 serious youthful offenders, we compare official records of arrest and self-reports of arrest over seven years.

Results: Findings show moderate agreement between self-reports and official arrests, which is fairly stable over time and quite similar across both gender and race/ethnicity. We do not find any race differences in the prevalence of official arrests, but do observe a gender difference in official arrests that is not accounted for by self-reported arrests.

Conclusions: Further work on issues on the validity and reliability of different forms of offending data across demographic groups is needed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)526-556
Number of pages31
JournalJournal of Research in Crime and Delinquency
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 27 Jul 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • arrests
  • gender
  • longitudinal
  • official records
  • race/ethnicity
  • self-reports
  • serious offenders

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