U.S. flag

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

Development of Offending and Antisocial Behaviour From Childhood: Key Findings From the Cambridge Study in Delinquent Development

NCJ Number
Journal of Child Psychology Volume: 360 Issue: 6 Dated: (1995) Pages: 929-964
D P Farrington
Date Published
36 pages
This report presents recent results from the Cambridge study in Delinquent Development, which is a prospective longitudinal survey of the development of delinquency and antisocial behavior in 411 South London boys, mostly born in 1953.
These males have been followed up by personal interviews from age 8 to age 32. The study began in 1961. The original aim of the study was to describe the development of delinquent and criminal behavior in inner-city males, to investigate how far it could be predicted in advance, and to explain why juvenile delinquency began, why it did or did not continue into adult crime, and why adult crime usually ended as men reached their twenties. The most important childhood predictors (during age 8-10) of delinquency were antisocial child behavior, impulsivity, low intelligence and attainment, family criminality, poverty, and poor parental child-rearing behavior. Offending was only one element of a larger syndrome of antisocial behavior that arose in childhood and persisted into adulthood. Marriage, employment, and moving out of London fostered desistance from offending. Early prevention experiments are needed to reduce delinquency, targeting low attainment, poor parenting, impulsivity, and poverty. 140 references