AN EMPIRICAL FRAMEWORK FOR STUDYING DESISTANCE AS A PROCESS*

Authors

  • SHAWN D. BUSHWAY,

    1. University of Maryland National Consortium on Violence Research*
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      This group came together as a discussion group on desistance when we were summer fellows at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences as part of the “Violence and the Life Course” Summer Institute organized by Ken Dodge and Robert Sampson. Following the Institute, we stayed together as part of a working group on desistance funded by the National Consortium on Violence Research. We wish to thank the staff at the Institute, along with Alfred Blumstein, Robert Brame, John Laub, Shadd Maruna, Edward Mulvey, Daniel Nagin, Wayne Osgood, Raymond Paternoster, Terence Thornberry, and three anonymous reviewers for many useful comments. All errors remain our own. Bushway and Broidy were Postdoctoral Fellows and Piquero was a Faculty Fellow with the National Consortium of Violence Research when much of this research was conducted.

  • ALEX R. PIQUERO,

    1. Northeastern University National Consortium on Violence Research*
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      This group came together as a discussion group on desistance when we were summer fellows at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences as part of the “Violence and the Life Course” Summer Institute organized by Ken Dodge and Robert Sampson. Following the Institute, we stayed together as part of a working group on desistance funded by the National Consortium on Violence Research. We wish to thank the staff at the Institute, along with Alfred Blumstein, Robert Brame, John Laub, Shadd Maruna, Edward Mulvey, Daniel Nagin, Wayne Osgood, Raymond Paternoster, Terence Thornberry, and three anonymous reviewers for many useful comments. All errors remain our own. Bushway and Broidy were Postdoctoral Fellows and Piquero was a Faculty Fellow with the National Consortium of Violence Research when much of this research was conducted.

  • LISA M. BROIDY,

    1. University of New Mexico
      National Consortium on Violence Research*
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      This group came together as a discussion group on desistance when we were summer fellows at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences as part of the “Violence and the Life Course” Summer Institute organized by Ken Dodge and Robert Sampson. Following the Institute, we stayed together as part of a working group on desistance funded by the National Consortium on Violence Research. We wish to thank the staff at the Institute, along with Alfred Blumstein, Robert Brame, John Laub, Shadd Maruna, Edward Mulvey, Daniel Nagin, Wayne Osgood, Raymond Paternoster, Terence Thornberry, and three anonymous reviewers for many useful comments. All errors remain our own. Bushway and Broidy were Postdoctoral Fellows and Piquero was a Faculty Fellow with the National Consortium of Violence Research when much of this research was conducted.

  • ELIZABETH CAUFFMAN,

    1. University of Pittsburgh
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  • PAUL MAZEROLLE

    1. University of Queensland, Australia
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  • Shawn D. Bushway is an Assistant Professor of Criminology at the University of Maryland and a member of the National Consortium on Violence Research. He has done research on the relationship between work and crime and has explored statistical methods for the study of dynamic processes. His current research focuses primarily on explaining the process of desistance from criminal activity. Address correspondence to Shawn Bushway, 2220 LeFrak Hall, Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742.

  • Alex R. Piquero is an Associate Professor of Criminal Justice at Northeastern University, a member of the National Consortium on Violence Research, and a Network Associate with the MacArthur Foundation's Research Network on Adolescent Development and Juvenile Justice. His research interests include crime over the life course, criminological theory, and quantitative research methods.

  • Lisa M. Broidy is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of New Mexico. Her research interests center on the etiology of crime and delinquency with a particular interest in gender-based similarities and differences in criminal/delinquent behavior and its correlates. Her current research is rooted in life-course/developmental approaches to the study of crime and focuses on the linkage between chronic disruptive behaviors in childhood and adolescent outcomes (especially offending and depression) among males and females.

  • Elizabeth Cauffman is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Law & Psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh and she is a member of the MacArthur Foundation's Research Network on Adolescent Development and Juvenile Justice. Her current research efforts involve the assessment of mental health and psychosocial maturity among juvenile offenders, the exploration of factors associated with female delinquency, and the study of maturity of judgment as it develops during the course of adolescence.

  • Paul Mazerolle is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Archaelogy at the University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia. His research examines theoretical and empirical dimensions of crime and delinquency, including specific issues related to criminal careers and crime over the life course.

Abstract

Recent reviews of the desistance literature have advocated studying desistance as a process, yet current empirical methods continue to measure desistance as a discrete state. In this paper, we propose a framework for empirical research that recognizes desistance as a developmental process. This approach focuses on changes in the offending rate rather than on offending itself. We describe a statistical model to implement this approach and provide an empirical example. We conclude with several suggestions for future research endeavors that arise from our conceptualization of desistance.

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