Journal of Quantitative Criminology

, Volume 27, Issue 1, pp 53–84 | Cite as

Something Old, Something New: Revisiting Competing Hypotheses of the Victimization-Offending Relationship Among Adolescents

  • Graham C. OuseyEmail author
  • Pamela Wilcox
  • Bonnie S. Fisher
Original Paper


This study revisits a familiar question regarding the relationship between victimization and offending. Using longitudinal data on middle- and high-school students, the study examines competing arguments regarding the relationship between victimization and offending embedded within the “dynamic causal” and “population heterogeneity” perspectives. The analysis begins with models that estimate the longitudinal relationship between victimization and offending without accounting for the influence of time-stable individual heterogeneity. Next, the victimization-offending relationship is reconsidered after the effects of time-stable sources of heterogeneity, and time-varying covariates are controlled. While the initial results without controls for population heterogeneity are in line with much prior research and indicate a positive link between victimization and offending, results from models that control for time-stable individual differences suggest something new: a negative, reciprocal relationship between victimization and offending. These latter results are most consistent with the notion that the oft-reported victimization-offending link is driven by a combination of dynamic causal and population heterogeneity factors. Implications of these findings for theory and future research focusing on the victimization-offending nexus are discussed.


Victimization Offending Reciprocal effects Latent variable models Dynamic causal effects Population heterogeneity 



This research was sponsored, in part, by grant DA-11317 (Richard R. Clayton, PI) from the National Institute on Drug Abuse. The authors would like to thank Richard R. Clayton, Scott A. Hunt, Kimberly Reeder, Michelle Campbell Augustine, Shayne Jones, Staci Roberts, and Jon Paul Bryan for their contributions to the Rural Substance abuse and Violence Project, which provides the data analyzed here.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Graham C. Ousey
    • 1
    Email author
  • Pamela Wilcox
    • 2
  • Bonnie S. Fisher
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of SociologyCollege of William & MaryWilliamsburgUSA
  2. 2.School of Criminal JusticeUniversity of CincinnatiCincinnatiUSA

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