SOC 2700 Chapter 13: chapter 13

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Chapter #13, Developmental and Life-Course Theories, Page 299-315
Developmental and life-course theories (DLC) try to make sense of different patterns of
criminal behaviour over time. Where crime peaks in adolescence and declines as people
get older. The goal of DLC is to understand the stability and changes in CB within the
individual over time periods in their life. It is devoted to describing age-related patterns
of crimes, tracking trajectories, discovering turning-points for individuals either towards
or away from crime, and identifying risk or protective factors at various ages that trigger
or quit crime. Age or life stage is the main focus for DLC, where it can explain all of
The 11 central questions to DLC are- #1) what is the key construct underlying offending?
#2) what factors encourage offending? #3) what factors inhibit offending? #4) is there a
learning process? #5) is there a decision-making process? #6) what is the structure of
the theory? #7) what are the operational definitions of theoretical constructs? #8) what
does the theory explain? #9) what does the theory not explain? #10) what findings
might challenge the theory? (can the theory be tested) #11) crucial tests: how much
does the theory make different predictions from another theory? There are also 13
other questions but fuck them. On page 300.
Age and Crime
Age and crime is one of the most important facts of criminology. It is invariant across
time, place, social and cultural conditions, and crime type (proven wrong for fucksakes.)
Age-crime curve is where the crime rate typically increases from early adolescence and
peaks at mid-to late teenage years, then declines by adulthood.
Criminal Careers
Criminal careers emerged mainly in the 1980s but dates back to the 1830s. today they
look at how and why certain factors may affect the initiation of criminal activity, the
continuation and escalation of criminal activity and or the termination of criminal
activity. Dimensions of criminal career are: prevalence, frequency, age of onset and age
of desistance, and criminal career length.
It generally peaks at age 16 for self-reports, and 17-20 for official results. Followed by
declining into adulthood. They often commit around 8 offences per year. Age of onset
and desistance is very important as onset is around 13-19 (sometimes younger) for self-
reports, and a little later for official. Certain crimes also happen differently, and an early
onset age usually leads to longer criminal careers. Certain crimes are also to peak in
later years (white-collar.)
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