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date: 18 January 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This article explores group-based trajectory modeling as a methodological design for studying criminal behavior. Originally developed by Nagin and Land (1993) as a nonparametric, nested, mixed Poisson model, group-based trajectory modeling is a statistical methodology that uses longitudinal data to understand trajectories as a criminological endeavor. Its objective is to determine whether the age–crime curve of criminal offending found at the societal level also applies to the individual level and whether an individual’s criminal career can be modeled without including the structural elements of career onset, desistance, or dormancy. This article begins with a historical background on how group-based trajectory modeling was developed and goes on to discuss how it is implemented in the field of criminology. It also considers the methodological and substantive applications of group-based trajectory modeling, along with its advantages and disadvantages. Finally, it outlines directions for future research on group-based trajectory modeling.

Keywords: group-based trajectory modeling, criminal behavior, Poisson model, statistical methodology, longitudinal data, trajectories, criminal offending, criminal career, criminology

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