skip navigation

PUBLICATIONS

Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.

 

NCJ Number: 230040 Find in a Library
Title: Distinguishing Facts and Artifacts in Group-Based Modeling
Journal: Criminology  Volume:48  Issue:1  Dated:February 2010  Pages:295-320
Author(s): Torbjorn Skardhamar
Date Published: February 2010
Page Count: 26
Sponsoring Agency: Norwegian Research Council for Social Research
Norway
Grant Number: 167302/V10
Publisher: http://www.wiley.com 
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Using a small simulation experiment, this study examined whether semiparametric group-based modeling (SPGM) is suitable for testing the existence of subpopulations not directly observable; and it considers whether similar trajectories might equally well result from mechanisms suggested by general theories.
Abstract: The author concludes that as generally applied, SPGM cannot provide evidence either for or against a taxonomy and that the usual findings can be explained by competing theories. This paper further argues that this result is not only because of the methodology's characteristics but also because of the modeling strategy applied. In the experiment reported in the current article, the author generated longitudinal data without any meaningful groups. He then analyzed these data using SPGM and checked the diagnostics and estimated group-specific effects of time-varying covariates. If seemingly distinct groups can be recovered from such data, then the use of SPGM to distinguish between general and taxonomic theories of crime will be called into question, and the empirical support for the taxonomic approach must be reconsidered. Moffitt (1993, 2006) proposed what is perhaps the most influential contemporary taxonomic theory of crimes. She has suggested that adolescent-limited and life-course persistent antisocial behaviors are committed by two "qualitatively distinct categories of individuals . . . each in need of its own distinct theoretical explanation." These antisocial types are not directly observable, which leads to empirical challenges. Moffitt's approach was spurred by the development of SPGM, a technique that offers a methodological basis for distinguishing between groups of individuals with different patterns of offending across time (Nagin and Land, 1993). This novel technique promised "the capability to identify rather than assume distinctive groups of trajectories" (Nagin, 1999: 139), making it possible to test for the existence of offender categories on a more objective basis. The analysis reported in this article challenges this methodology. 3 tables, 2 figures, and 53 references
Main Term(s): Criminology
Index Term(s): Comparative analysis; Juvenile to adult criminal careers; Models; Offender profiles; Research methods
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=252072

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.