Systematic review of early risk factors for life-course-persistent, adolescence-limited, and late-onset offenders in prospective longitudinal studies

Darrick Jolliffe, David P. Farrington, Alex R. Piquero, Rolf Loeber, Karl G. Hill

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97 Citations (Scopus)


This paper builds on our previous systematic review of prospective longitudinal studies and examines the early risk factors associated with life-course persistent offending (LCP), adolescence-limited (AL) and late-onset (LO) offending. Out of the 55 prospective longitudinal studies which theoretically could possess the relevant information, only four provided information about risk factors associated with the different offending types. An additional three provided data so that relevant analyses could be conducted. The results suggested that there was little evidence that specific early risk factors were associated with specific offending types. There was also limited evidence that specific risk factors predicted specific offending types when criminal career duration was included in the definitions of LCP, AL, and LO offending. However, LCP offenders tended to have a greater number of risk factors, and the magnitude of these was somewhat greater than for AL offenders, who in turn tended to have more risk factors (and of a greater magnitude) than LO offenders. LCP and AL offenders may differ more in degree (in the number and magnitude of risk factors) than in kind (in the specific risk factors that are predictive). Importantly, as the potential criminal career duration was increased in defining the offending types, those with longer careers tended to have more risk factors, but, LCP and AL offenders were not predicted by different risk factors. Much more research is needed on risk factors for offending types defined according to criminal career durations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15-23
Number of pages9
JournalAggression and Violent Behavior
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Adolescence-limited-offenders
  • Late-onset offenders
  • Life-course-persistent offenders
  • Prospective longitudinal studies
  • Risk factors

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