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date: 23 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

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.

Keywords: gender, life course, life stage, transitions, trajectories, work, marriage, parenthood

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