American Journal of Criminal Justice

, Volume 39, Issue 1, pp 155–171 | Cite as

Maternal Attachment Trajectories and Criminal Offending By Race

  • Ryan D. Schroeder
  • George E. HigginsEmail author
  • Thomas J. Mowen


Parental attachment is a key predictor of juvenile offending. Most prior research on the topic, however, assumes that parental attachment is stable throughout youth and adolescence. On the contrary, recent research has established that parenting is a dynamic factor for many youth during adolescence. In the current study, we assess the relationship between trajectories of maternal attachment and offending during adolescence and young adulthood. Following a cohort of 859 youth from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth data aged 10 or 11 over a period of 6 years, we find four distinctive trajectories of maternal attachment and two distinctive trajectories of offending. The results suggest that changes that occur in maternal closeness are linked to changes in offending across adolescence. However, when young adult offending is assessed when the youth are 18 or 19 years of age, we find that adolescent maternal attachment trajectories are not significant predictors of offending.


Parenting Maternal attachment Offending Crime Trajectories 


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Copyright information

© Southern Criminal Justice Association 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ryan D. Schroeder
    • 1
  • George E. Higgins
    • 2
    Email author
  • Thomas J. Mowen
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of SociologyUniversity of LouisvilleLouisvilleUSA
  2. 2.Department of Justice AdministrationUniversity of LouisvilleLouisvilleUSA
  3. 3.University of DelawareNewarkUSA

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