The etiology of criminal onset: The enduring salience of nature and nurture

Matt DeLisi, Kevin M. Beaver, John Paul Wright, Michael G. Vaughn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

54 Citations (Scopus)


Based on data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health), the current study was the first to use measures of genetic polymorphisms (DRD2 and DRD4) to empirically examine the onset of crime. Net of the effects of race, age, gender, and low self-control, genetic polymorphisms explained variation in police contacts and arrest, but only among youths in low risk family environments. Moreover, youths with genetic risk factors experienced a later onset than youths without these risk factors. Borrowing from the behavioral and molecular genetics literatures, various interpretations of the findings are discussed as well as a call for increasingly interdisciplinary perspectives in criminology that encompass both sociological and biosocial frameworks.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)217-223
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Criminal Justice
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2008 Jul 1

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Applied Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Law

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