skip navigation


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: 98692 Find in a Library
Title: Age, Crime, and Social Explanation
Journal: American Journal of Sociology  Volume:91  Issue:1  Dated:(July 1985)  Pages:1-21
Author(s): D F Greenberg
Date Published: 1985
Page Count: 21
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: An examination of Hirschi and Gottfredson's recent critique of sociological explanations of the relationship between age and crime contends that the critique makes overstated or misleading claims based on flawed logic and on misstatements of the available empirical evidence.
Abstract: Hirschi and Gottfredson have made three important contributions: a focus on the entire life cycle rather than on the transition between adolescence and adulthood, certain observations regarding how explanatory factors relate to age and crime, and a new interpretation of the topic of early age onset of delinquency. However, their argument that cross-sectional research is as useful as longitudinal research overlooks some of the unique contributions of longitudinal data. Their arguments regarding age distributions of offending for different offenses or for social groups with different life circumstances are also flawed in several respects, as are their discussions of the meanings of data from different countries. Finally, their objections to the contributions of both strain theory and control theory to the understanding of crime and age patterns are either illogical or untrue. Familiar sociological concepts can explain much of the variation in the age distribution of crime, although further research is needed. Eighty-five references are listed.
Index Term(s): Age group comparisons; Crime patterns; Social control; Sociological analyses; Strain theory
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*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.