A typology of offenders: a test of Moffitt's theory among males and females from childhood to age 30




The present study tests Moffitt's theory regarding age-related patterns of male offending in a Swedish cohort of 7101 males and 6751 females.


Four groups of offenders were identified: stable early-starters (ES), adolescence-limited (AL), adult-starters (AS), and discontinuous offenders (DO). Information on childhood problems and patterns of offending was prospectively collected.


Consistent with Moffitt's theory, ES offenders committed more crimes and a greater diversity of crimes than other offender groups. Childhood problems and low global scores of intelligence distinguished ES offenders from AL, AS offenders and non-offenders.


Moffitt's typology of offenders appears to better describe male than female offenders. For example, among females, AS not ES offenders were responsible for the largest proportion of crimes and childhood variables played a role in AL offending. Inconsistent with Moffitt's theory, ES males and females were convicted of more offences than AL offenders during adolescence, and ES males obtained lower scores on numeric and spatial as well as verbal subtests of intelligence. Copyright © 1999 Whurr Publishers Ltd.