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date: 19 January 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter first provides an overview of the empirical observations that have shaped the age-of-onset research. It approaches these empirical observations as the central “facts” regarding age of onset that must be taken into account in any discussion of the criminal career. The chapter then discusses these empirical observations in their relation to the definitions and measurement of age of onset and to the theoretical approaches to understanding and explaining age of onset. It also discusses the importance and implications of age-of-onset research for prevention and intervention purposes. For each of these areas of consideration the chapter provides an overview and a critical analysis of extant research, followed by critical unanswered questions.

Keywords: age of onset, empirical observations, criminal career, crime measurement, life course, crime prevention

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