Journal of Quantitative Criminology

, Volume 6, Issue 2, pp 207-228

First online:

The criminality of female narcotics addicts: A causal modeling approach

  • Yih-Ing HserAffiliated withNeuropsychiatric Institute, University of California
  • , Chih-Ping ChouAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, University of California
  • , M. Douglas AnglinAffiliated withNeuropsychiatric Institute, University of California

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A longitudinal model was developed relating early deviance, narcotics use, and three types of income-generating crime (property crime, drug dealing, and prostitution) among female narcotics addicts during the first 2 years of the addiction career. The model was tested by a confirmatory structural equation analysis. Early deviance predicted subsequent property crime involvement. Stability across time was demonstrated for narcotics use, property crime, and drug dealing. Strong contemporaneous relationships among these constructs were found. These findings partially replicate patterns found in previous studies for male addicts. In contrast to male addicts, a positive, instead of negative, contemporaneous relationship was found between property crime and drug dealing activities. Between constructs, cross-lag effects were generally small and only that between property crime and later narcotics use was significant. Finally, prostitution was failed to be incorporated in the model. Further research is needed to elucidate the diverse economic support systems among women which may affect the drug-crime relationship.

Key words

criminality female narcotics addiction causality