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Chapter 9 - 
Developmental Theories: Life 
Course, Propensity, and Trajectory 
Michelle Palaro 
Criminology 81-220-1 
Fall...
Foundations of Developmental 
Theory 
• Glueck’s 
– Sampson and Laub 
• Wolfgang 
• Loeber and LeBlanc
Foundations of Developmental 
Theory 
• Three Views of Criminal Career 
Development 
−Three independent yet interrelated 
...
Foundations of Developmental 
Theory 
• Population Heterogeneity versus 
State Dependence 
– Population heterogeneity 
• T...
Class Discussion/Activity 
Do people change or not change over 
the course of their life? 
Which theory do you think is mo...
Life-Course Fundamentals 
• Relationships and behaviors 
determine adult life course 
– Children learn conformity to socia...
Foundations of Developmental 
Theory 
• Life-Course Theories 
– Criminality is a dynamic process 
• Age of onset 
–Early o...
Life-Course Fundamentals 
• Problem Behavior Syndrome 
– A cluster of antisocial behaviors that 
may include family dysfun...
Foundations of Developmental 
Theory 
• Age-Graded Theory 
– Social capital 
– Cumulative disadvantage 
– Turning points 
...
Foundations of Developmental 
Theory
Foundations of Developmental 
Theory 
• Propensity Theory 
–Latent traits 
–Propensity 
• Crime and human nature
Latent Trait Theories 
• Theories that a stable feature, 
characteristic, property, or condition, 
present at birth or soo...
Foundations of Developmental 
Theory 
• General Theory of Crime (GTC) 
–Michael Gottfredson and Travis Hirschi 
• What cau...
Analyzing the General Theory of 
Crime 
• Critiques 
– Tautological 
– Different Classes of Criminals 
– Ecological Differ...
Foundations of Developmental 
Theory 
• Trajectory Theory 
– Offending trajectories 
– Pathways to crime 
• Authority conf...
Foundations of Developmental 
Theory
Public Policy Implications of 
Developmental Theory 
• Social 
• Educational 
• Family services
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81-220-1 Chapter 9

  1. 1. Chapter 9 - Developmental Theories: Life Course, Propensity, and Trajectory Michelle Palaro Criminology 81-220-1 Fall 2014
  2. 2. Foundations of Developmental Theory • Glueck’s – Sampson and Laub • Wolfgang • Loeber and LeBlanc
  3. 3. Foundations of Developmental Theory • Three Views of Criminal Career Development −Three independent yet interrelated developmental views: • Life Course Theory • Propensity Theory −Latent trait • Trajectory Theory
  4. 4. Foundations of Developmental Theory • Population Heterogeneity versus State Dependence – Population heterogeneity • The propensity to commit crime is stable – State dependence • The propensity to commit crime is constantly changing
  5. 5. Class Discussion/Activity Do people change or not change over the course of their life? Which theory do you think is more correct: population heterogeneity or state dependence?
  6. 6. Life-Course Fundamentals • Relationships and behaviors determine adult life course – Children learn conformity to social rules and to function effectively in society – Later begin careers, leave parental homes, find permanent relationships, and marry and begin families – Transitions take place in order
  7. 7. Foundations of Developmental Theory • Life-Course Theories – Criminality is a dynamic process • Age of onset –Early onset • Problem Behavior Syndrome (PBS) • Continuity of crime • Age-graded theory
  8. 8. Life-Course Fundamentals • Problem Behavior Syndrome – A cluster of antisocial behaviors that may include family dysfunction, substance abuse, smoking, precocious sexuality and early pregnancy, educational underachievement, suicide attempts, sensation seeking, and unemployment, as well as crime – Crime is a social problem rather than a result of other social problems
  9. 9. Foundations of Developmental Theory • Age-Graded Theory – Social capital – Cumulative disadvantage – Turning points – Testing age-graded theory – Love, marriage, and criminality
  10. 10. Foundations of Developmental Theory
  11. 11. Foundations of Developmental Theory • Propensity Theory –Latent traits –Propensity • Crime and human nature
  12. 12. Latent Trait Theories • Theories that a stable feature, characteristic, property, or condition, present at birth or soon after, makes some people crime-prone over the life course • State Dependence – Latent trait disrupts normal socialization
  13. 13. Foundations of Developmental Theory • General Theory of Crime (GTC) –Michael Gottfredson and Travis Hirschi • What causes impulsivity/low self-control to develop? • Learning or biology? • The act and the offender • Testing the General Theory of Crime • Criticisms and questions • Environment and impulsivity
  14. 14. Analyzing the General Theory of Crime • Critiques – Tautological – Different Classes of Criminals – Ecological Differences – Racial and Gender Differences – Moral Beliefs – Peer Influence – People change – Modest relationship – Cross-cultural differences – Misreads human nature – One of many causes
  15. 15. Foundations of Developmental Theory • Trajectory Theory – Offending trajectories – Pathways to crime • Authority conflict pathway • Covert pathway • Overt pathway – Adolescent-limited and life course persistent offenders – Late starters and abstainers
  16. 16. Foundations of Developmental Theory
  17. 17. Public Policy Implications of Developmental Theory • Social • Educational • Family services
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Chapter 9 lecture notes

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