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date: 25 May 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter looks at interactional theory, which suggests that structural disadvantages affect the initial level of the social bond, which, in turn, is reciprocally related to association with delinquent peers, delinquent values, and delinquent behavior. It begins with the processes that occur in early childhood when individual and social structural deficits, parental factors, and the home environment play key roles in child development. The chapter then moves to the school-age years, when factors outside the home play prominent roles, before considering the question of what might lead to desistance and continuation in adulthood. To address this question, an examination of the interplay across life-course trajectories and the role of cumulative continuity are key points of discussion. This chapter concludes by examining how the lives of one generation are linked to the next in generating both continuity and discontinuity in deviant behavior between parent and child.

Keywords: interactional theory, structural disadvantages, social bonds, delinquency, early childhood, school-age years, adulthood, life-course trajectories, cumulative continuity, deviant behavior

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