U.S. flag

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

Measuring the Natural History of Delinquency and Crime

NCJ Number
96678
Author(s)
D P Farrington
Date Published
January 1984
Length
47 pages
Annotation
The Cambridge Study in Delinquent Development, a prospective longitudinal survey of a sample of 411 males, who are predominantly white, urban, working class, and of British origin, show that self-reported and official delinquency vary with age. shows how self-reported and official delinquency vary with age.
Abstract
Data collection began in 1961-2, when most of the boys were 8 years old, and ended in 1980. The boys were interviewed and tested at intervals of 2-3 years from age 8 to 24, their parents were interviewed every year from when the boy was 8 until when he was 14-15, and their teachers filled in questionnaires about them every 2 years from when the boy was 8 until he was 14. In addition, conviction records were obtained for the boys from age 10 to 25, for their parents, and for their siblings. For most offenses, both peaked within a year or two of the seventeenth birthday. Self-reports suggest that many more offenses were committed than appear in official records, but the two methods were in reasonable agreement in identifying the proportion of the sample who committed offenses. The best predictors of convictions and self-reported delinquency at any age were convictions and self-reported delinquency at an earlier age. Other independent predictors of troublesome, delinquent, and criminal behavior were economic deprivation, family criminality, parental mishandling, and school failure. (Author abstract modified)

Date Published: January 1, 1984