General Versus Specific Predictors of Male Arrest Trajectories: A Test of the Moffitt and Patterson Theories

Margit Wiesner, Deborah M. Capaldi, Hyoun K. Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Citations (Scopus)


Developmental taxonomies of crime disagree on whether distinctive offender trajectories are related to common or unique risks. This study examined childhood risks of differing arrest trajectories across childhood through early adulthood (from ages 10-11 to 26-27 years) that were identified in prior work for 203 at-risk, predominantly Caucasian young men. Multivariate analyses revealed that when both distal (childhood risk factors) and proximal risk factors (deviant peer association as a time-varying covariate) were included in the model, relatively few childhood risk factors (assessed at age 9-10 years) discriminated the chronic offender groups from rare offenders (i.e., child antisocial behavior, child attention problems, parents' antisocial behavior). Rather, deviant peer association was significantly related to levels of offending within each trajectory group (i. e., chronic and rare offender groups). No predictor differentially predicted membership in the two chronic groups, supporting the linear gradation argument. Theoretical and prevention implications are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)217-228
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Youth and Adolescence
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Feb 1


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

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