Structural Constraints, Risky Lifestyles, and Repeat Victimization

Jillian J. Turanovic, Travis C. Pratt, Alex R. Piquero

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

39 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: Research indicates that victims who make changes to their risky behavioral routines are better able to avoid being victimized again in the future. Nevertheless, some victims’ abilities to change their behaviors may be limited by what Hindelang et al. in Victims of personal crime: an empirical foundation for a theory of personal victimization. Ballinger, Cambridge (1978) referred to as “structural constraints.” To assess this issue, we determine: (1) whether victims who reside in communities characterized by structural constraints (e.g., concentrated disadvantage) are more likely to continue engaging in risky behaviors (e.g., offending, illicit drug use, and getting drunk) after being victimized; and (2) whether victims who continue to engage in risky lifestyles have an increased likelihood of repeat victimization. Methods: Ten waves of data (spanning nearly 7 years) from the Pathways to Desistance Study are used, and multilevel models are estimated to examine changes to risky lifestyles and repeat victimization among a subsample of victims. Results: Findings indicate that community-level structural constraints impose limits on the changes that victims make to their risky lifestyles, and that these changes influence repeat victimization. Conclusions: We conclude that, in the context of repeat victimization, structural constraints are both real and consequential, and that future theory and research should continue to explore how context shapes and influences victims’ behavioral routines.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)251-274
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Quantitative Criminology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Repeat victimization
  • Risky lifestyles
  • Structural constraints
  • Violent victimization

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