Differences in offending patterns between male and female youth are well established in the literature. In comparison to female youth, males are more involved in serious and violent offending and are also more likely to engage in offending that persists across the life course. Offending trajectory comparisons between males and females suggest that the trajectories of the highest rate female offenders are different from the highest rate trajectories of male offenders and that comparing trajectory association across gender can mask important within-group differences among female offenders. Indeed, little research has moved past analyzing female juvenile offenders as a homogenous group (Odgers et al., 2007). Consequently, there is limited understanding of the impact that risk and protective factors have on offending persistence or desistance specifically for female offenders. Using data from the Incarcerated Serious and Violent Young Offender Study, the current study examined the impact of key theoretical constructs on the offending trajectories of female adolescent offenders during emerging adulthood. Analyses using Traj for STATA revealed more heterogeneity in female offending trajectories than earlier indications in the literature. The results are discussed with reference to how childhood and adolescent risk factors help inform female offenders’ continued offending into adulthood.
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Thesis advisor: Wong, Jennifer
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