Generality, continuity, and change in offending

Raymond Paternoster, Charles W. Dean, Alex Piquero, Paul Mazerolle, Robert Brame

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Otherpeer-review


A number of criminological theories make either implicit or explicit predictions about the empirical relationship between prior and future offending behavior. Some argue that time-stable characteristics such as criminal propensity should account for any positive correlation between past and future criminal behavior for all individuals. Others contend that the positive association between offending behavior at different points in time are partly causal and partly spurious. Still others anticipate that different patterns will emerge for different groups (distinguished by their ciminal propensity) of individuals. Using a longitudinal data set comprised of 848 training school releasees, we test various hypotheses emanating from these different theoretical perspectives. The results indicate that (1) both stability and change have causal implications for one's offending behavior and (2) with but one exception, these effects do not vary between high and low criminal propensity groups.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDevelopmental and Life-course Criminological Theories
EditorsTara Renae McGee, Paul Mazerolle
Place of PublicationAbingdon UK
PublisherTaylor & Francis
Number of pages36
ISBN (Electronic)9781315094908
ISBN (Print)9780754629641
Publication statusPublished - 5 Jul 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Change
  • Continuity
  • Generality
  • Offending behavior
  • Predictions

Cite this