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Keywords:

  • intergenerational;
  • delinquency;
  • drug use;
  • antisocial behavior;
  • maltreatment

There is a growing literature on intergenerational studies of antisocial behavior and a growing understanding of the unique contributions they are likely to make. At the same time, the field has yet to agree on core design features for intergenerational study. In this article, I propose a set of defining design elements that all intergenerational studies should meet and I discuss the advantages of these studies for enhancing our understanding of the onset and course of delinquent careers. I then use data from the ongoing Rochester Intergenerational Study to illustrate these points and the potential yield of intergenerational studies. In particular, I examine intergenerational continuities in antisocial behavior and school disengagement, test the cycle of violence hypothesis to see whether a history of maltreatment increases the likelihood of perpetration of maltreatment, and estimate a structural equation model to help identify mediating pathways that link parents and children with respect to antisocial behavior.