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Adult Onset Offending in a Swedish Female Birth Cohort

NCJ Number
Journal of Criminal Justice Volume: 41 Issue: 3 Dated: May/June 2013 Pages: 172-177
Frida Andersson; Marie Torstensson Levander
Date Published
June 2013
6 pages
This study examined the origin and development of adult onset offending in a sample of Swedish female offenders.
This study explored which social and familial characteristics, together with life events in childhood, adolescence, and early adulthood, were significant predictors for adult onset offending in female offenders in Sweden. The study found female adult onset offenders came from disadvantaged familial and economic environments, that their criminal debut was due to escalating lifestyle problems and consequent exposure to negative social settings, and that they had significantly higher levels of drug use, both in adolescent and in adulthood. The study also found that female adult onset offenders had lower educational levels, which increased their level of vulnerability resulting from negative life events. These findings suggest that a significant set of factors exist to predict adult onset offending in females. Data for the study were obtained from analysis of data compiled from the Swedish longitudinal Project Metropolitan cohort. The sample of males and females in the cohort were followed from birth (1953) through adulthood (1983). The study explored whether certain factors could be used to provide indications that adult onset offenders are a distinct group of offenders separate from early onset chronic offenders. The findings suggest that adult onset offenders are similar to early onset chronic offenders, but that individual-level factors may provide separation between the two groups. Suggestions for future research are discussed. Figure, tables, and references