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Dimensions of Delinquency: Exploring the Correlates of Participation, Frequency, and Persistence of Delinquent Behavior

NCJ Number
Date Published
January 1991
27 pages
This document presents an exploratory empirical analysis on whether similar or different factors are related to participation in, frequency of, and persistence in delinquency.
One distinct position on this question claims that whether individuals engage in any delinquent behavior, the frequency of their delinquent activity, and the persistence of delinquent conduct are manifestations of a single underlying latent variable: a general propensity toward delinquency. On the opposite pole is the assertion that variables associated with whether people engage in any delinquency may not be the same as those factors associated with the variation in frequency or persistence of offending among active offenders. Results show that at least three dimensions of delinquency (participation, frequency, and persistence) have some common and some unique correlates. The current findings indicate that making inferences from analyses of participation to the correlates of frequency or persistence would capture some important similarities but obscure other important differences. 6 tables, 7 notes, and 35 references (Author abstract modified)

Date Published: January 1, 1991