U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Explanations for Offending

NCJ Number
Date Published
May 2014
2 pages
Publication Series
This publication summarizes findings from Bulletin 3: Explanations for Offending, one of a series of papers prepared for the study group on Transitions From Juvenile Delinquency to Adult Crime.
Five broad theoretical perspectives that explain juvenile to adult patterns of offending are described in this bulletin. These perspectives are: 1) Static theories in which behavior emerges in a predictable sequence and unfolds at roughly the same age for all individuals; 2) dynamic or life-course developmental models that assume a plasticity to human behavior the persists throughout life; 3) social psychological theories of criminal behavior that emphasize subjective life experiences; 4) the developmental psychopathological perspective that brings together ideas from several disciplines; and 5) the biopsychosocial perspective that regards behavior as a complex interaction among biological, psychological, interpersonal, and environmental processes.

Date Published: May 1, 2014