Behavior Genetics

, Volume 19, Issue 3, pp 355–370 | Cite as

Sex differences in property crime in a Danish adoption cohort

  • Laura A. Baker
  • Wendy Mack
  • Terrie E. Moffitt
  • Sarnoff Mednick


Sex differences in genetic and environmental influences on criminal behavior against property were studied in a birth cohort of 6129 male and 7065 female Danish adoptees and their biological and adoptive parents. Both genetic and environmental factors were found to contribute to variation in liability to property criminality, the relative proportions of variance explained being similar in males and females. Important shared- and nonshared-family environmental factors were present. In separate analyses of average liability toward property criminality, however, convicted females appeared to be more genetically predisposed than convicted males, a conclusion based on the finding that female property offenders were more likely than male offenders to have convicted biological (but adopted-away) offspring. On the other hand, property-offending males and females did not appear to differ in their average shared-family environmental liabilities, since conviction rates did not differ for adoptees of convicted adoptive mothers and fathers. Also, social class in the adopitive parents of convicted sons and daughters were comparable, further indicating that average shared-family environmental liabilities do not differ between the sexes.

Key Words

Sex differences liability adoption study property criminality threshold 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Laura A. Baker
    • 1
  • Wendy Mack
    • 2
  • Terrie E. Moffitt
    • 3
  • Sarnoff Mednick
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Southern CaliforniaLos Angeles
  2. 2.Department of Preventive MedicineUniversity of Southern CaliforniaLos Angeles
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyUniversity of WisconsinMadison

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