Assessing Correlates of Onset, Escalation, Deescalation, and Desistance of Delinquent Behavior

Charles D. Ayers, James Herbert Williams, J. David Hawkins, Peggy L. Peterson, Richard F. Catalano, Robert D. Abbott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

99 Scopus citations


This article evaluates the utility of social development model constructs to assess the correlates of onset, escalation, deescalation, and desistance of delinquent behavior, from age 12 to age 15, using a dynamic classification approach. Dynamic classification places individuals into categories based on changes in levels of delinquent behavior over time. These analyses assess the extent to which specific constructs are associated with changes in the delinquency status of individuals. Constructs of the social development model (SDM), including opportunities for conventional involvement, skills for conventional involvement, rewards for conventional involvement, proactive family management, bonding to conventional society, opportunities for antisocial involvement, antisocial interactions, perceived rewards for antisocial involvement, and norms against drug use, were significantly associated with change in delinquent behavior over time. Many of the constructs were particularly salient in distinguishing between youths who remained involved in delinquency and youths who deescalated or desisted from delinquent behavior during this period. Implications for preventive interventions and criminological theory are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)277-306
Number of pages30
JournalJournal of Quantitative Criminology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Correlates
  • Delinquency
  • Etiology
  • Gender
  • Social development

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Law


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