Patrick Lussier and Arjan A. J. Blokland
This essay examines theoretical, methodological, and empirical knowledge about the activation, course, and desistance from sex offending. The authors discuss theoretical issues and controversies regarding the origins and development and sex offending. Methodological issues in the measurement of sex offending and sex offending careers are reviewed, and an organizing conceptual criminal career framework is proposed to study sex offending. The current state of knowledge is presented regarding the criminal careers of juvenile sex offenders and associated developmental correlates, as well as the criminal careers of adult sex offenders and associated developmental correlates. A comparative analysis is provided of juvenile and adult sex offending careers and the respective correlates, noting developmental similarities and differences. Finally, a developmentally informed integrated model of sex offending is presented to stimulate research and policy discussion regarding the prevention of sexual violence and abuse.
Michael A. Russell, Summer J. Robins, and Candice L. Odgers
How does the onset, course, and development of antisocial behavior from childhood to adulthood differ between males and females? This essay reviews and synthesizes evidence from numerous developmentally informative studies. Taken together, these studies suggest that (a) males engage in more frequent, diverse, and severe antisocial behavior across all ages; (b) sex differences in both social (parental socialization, monitoring, peer disapproval of aggression) and neurodevelopmental factors (impulse control, emotion regulation, and perspective-taking abilities) appear to play a role in fostering these sex differences in antisocial behavior; and (c) although fewer females engage in antisocial behavior, females’ antisocial trajectories appear to be more similar to males’ than they are different. The essay concludes by summarizing these findings and highlighting important areas for future research.
Ross Macmillan and Bill McCarthy
This essay outlines theory and research on the life course context of gender and offending. A life course perspective emphasizes social mechanisms that produce continuity of problem behavior over time and mechanisms in later life that produce change in criminal offending. The key issues raised by the life course perspective also animate questions about gender, particularly its role in shaping or contextualizing family interactions, role transitions, and social connections that give rise to patterns of deviance over time. Specific issues examined include gender and offending within sociohistorical contexts and arguments over “crime and gender equality,” life stage variation in gender differences in antisocial behavior, the age distribution of crime and trajectories of offending and their implications, and the social and psychological mechanisms that produce continuities and discontinuities in offending over the life span. The essay concludes with a discussion of gaps in the current literature and directions for future research.