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Marriage and Offending: Examining the Significance of Marriage among the Children of Immigrants

NCJ Number
Date Published
January 2016
29 pages
Using 13 waves of National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997 data, this study examined the influence of marriage—a key correlate of desistance from crime—to understand more fully patterns of offending across immigrant generations during the transition to adulthood.
Although research shows that involvement in crime varies across immigrant generations, less is known about why this is so. Results from the current study indicate a lower prevalence of offending among first-generation immigrants compared with their second-generation and third-plus-generation peers; however, among active offenders, rates of offending are similar across groups. Notably, marriage exerts a significantly stronger effect on offending for second-generation immigrants, suggesting that, while assimilation may be associated with more offending, it is also associated with a greater potency of marriage in promoting desistance from crime. (Publisher abstract modified)
Date Published: January 1, 2016