Immigrant status, offending, and desistance: do relationship characteristics matter?

Jessica M. Craig, Chris Guerra, Alex R. Piquero

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Though prior research has established the separate effects of romantic relationships and immigrant status on offending, few studies have combined these areas to assess how immigrant status may condition the effect of romantic relationships on crime. Further, fewer studies strive to uncover the potential mechanisms of the relationship effect. Methods: Using data from the Pathways to Desistance study, this study examined the effects of relational quality, monitoring, and tolerance of deviance on later offending and if these effects differed among first-generation, second-generation, and native-born youth. Results: While tolerance of deviance and monitoring were found to predict decreased offending among the second-generation and native-born youth, only tolerance of deviance predicted decreased offending for the first-generation youth. Conclusions: Although there were no meaningful differences between the second-generation and native-born youth with respect to desistance mechanisms, relational monitoring was not associated with desistance among the first-generation youth. Relational quality was not associated with desistance for any subgroup. These findings have important implications for social control theories and suggest individual differences such as immigrant status may condition the effects of social bonds on offending. Potential cultural differences such as “familismo” may help explain these effects and are worthy of further consideration.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)67-94
Number of pages28
JournalJournal of Developmental and Life-Course Criminology
Publication statusPublished - 4 Jan 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Desistance
  • Immigration
  • Offending
  • Romantic relationship

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