Skip to main content

“It’s Not About Me No More”: Fatherhood and Mechanisms of Desistance Among At-Risk Men

Abstract

Purpose

Work and marriage seem out of reach for many at-risk young men, but fatherhood is relatively common. The growing body of quantitative research on parenthood and desistance from crime is mixed, yet the changes associated with the transition to fatherhood align with the mechanisms implied by theories of desistance. To understand whether and how fatherhood relates to desistance and persistence in crime, I examine how fatherhood shapes cognitive shifts and routine activities among persisting and desisting men in early adulthood.

Methods

I analyze in-depth interviews with a subsample of 17 desisting and persisting fathers from the qualitative component of the Pathways to Desistance Study.

Results

The meanings and structures of fatherhood experiences were sensitive to local life circumstances, yet distinct patterns emerged. Desisting fathers experienced changes in thinking, including a sense of maturity and an increase in consideration for others. Shifts often emerged from parenting experiences after the birth of a child. Desisting fathers also described time with children in terms of structured childcare activities. Persisting fathers viewed themselves as failing to fulfill role obligations and as ignoring parenthood hook for change. Persisting fathers described time with children as “babysitting” and as oriented around leisure activities.

Conclusions

These findings provide insight into the lived experience of fatherhood among at-risk men. It highlights the intersection of situational and cognitive mechanisms implicated in the desistance process and supports contemporary theories of desistance and persistence.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Notes

  1. The analyses of Mulvey et al. [53] modeled patterns of self-reported offending during the 3 years following adjudication, taking into account the effect of institutional confinement on the subject’s level of offending during each period. They used a variety score scale of self-reported offending that was composed of 22 items listing different serious illegal activities; the participant indicated whether he had done any of these activities “ever” (at the baseline) or over the “last six months” (at the baseline and first six time points covering 36 months). Mulvey et al. identified five distinct subgroups; case selection of male informants for the qualitative study focused on two of these groups. To capture continuity of behavior, I selected from a group of men that was involved in a high rate of antisocial behaviors at the baseline interview and maintained a high rate of involvement over the 36 months following adjudication; “persisting” men made up 8.7% of the total number of men in the Pathways Study. To capture behavioral change, I selected a group of men who reported a high rate of offending at the initial interview but reported a much lower rate at the 36-month interview. “Desisting” made up approximately 14.6% of the sample.

    Mulvey et al. [53] found that the members of the desisting and persisting groups were more similar to each other than they were to the other three trajectory groups. There was no significant difference between persisting and desisting men with respect to age, ethnicity, and antisocial history, and with respect to baseline measures of deviant peers, psychosocial maturity, and substance use, while both groups differed significantly from the other three trajectory groups. Moreover, persisting and desisting men spent equivalent amounts of time in institutional care during the follow-up period (which was significantly more time than the other three groups spent), and they were equally likely to have received community-based services during the 3 years after adjudication.

  2. In all, 36 male informants were contacted by Pathways interviewers who requested permission for me to access their contact information and invite them to participate in the qualitative study. The six men that gave permission but ultimately were not interviewed were incarcerated. Two of the six men refused to participate in the qualitative interview; both refusals were from men incarcerated at State Correctional Institutions (SCI). The first man refused to meet with me once I arrived at the SCI; the Pathways interviewer warned me that he might refuse because he suffered from anxiety and preferred to not leave his cell. The second man met with me briefly but refused to participate in the interview because he was preparing for a parole hearing later that day. The third man was located at a local jail; when I tried to schedule a meeting with him, I was told that he was in federal custody for a court appearance and thus inaccessible; he remained inaccessible to me for the remainder of the qualitative data collection period. The remaining three men were incarcerated at SCIs that refused permission to use a digital voice recorder at the facility. An additional eight men initially identified as potential informants were ruled out from the final recruits. Two men moved out of state and one man was in the restricted housing unit (RHU) in an SCI and therefore could not give consent to be contacted by me, and five men were not located prior to the completion of data collection; ultimately, they were not needed to complete the study.

  3. Group membership was reassessed in two steps using quantitative data and qualitative data. First, 36-month trajectory group membership was compared to time-based trajectory group membership using the full 84 months of available self-reported offending data (see [62] for details of this analysis); four of the 30 men changed group membership (Carol Schubert, email to the author, spring 2012). Second, 84-month group membership was compared to qualitative accounts of offending over the year or more prior to the interview; in each of these four cases (including three fathers), the change in group-based trajectory membership agreed with the content and context of their qualitative interviews. Three fathers were recategorized based on this assessment. For two fathers, the change in trajectory group membership agreed with their qualitative accounts (one changed from persisting to desisting and the other changed from desisting to persisting). A third father was categorized as persisting based on both trajectory group analyses even though his qualitative account pointed to a desisting pattern of offending in the year before the qualitative interview. This father had completed Pathways data collection more than a year prior to the qualitative interview and his qualitative account of his involvement in crime during his participation in the Pathways Study agreed with the group trajectory analysis. I interpreted this concordance as lending validity to his claim of his abstinence from crime in the preceding year and reassessed him as desisting.

  4. It is difficult to say whether the distribution of more fathers to the desisting group is representative of the relationship between fatherhood and desistance or persistence in the larger Pathways sample because, to date, only two published studies use these data to address the fatherhood–crime relationship. Tremblay et al. [69] found that fatherhood related to an increase in offending among men who were fathers by the 12-month wave of data collection, when the average age of the sample was approximately 16. This correlation is supported by Na [54], whose propensity score analysis found that adolescent transitions to fatherhood increase self-reported offending. Na also examined early adulthood transitions to fatherhood and found a pattern of decreased offending; however, this relationship did not reach statistical significance.

  5. It is important to consider whether apparent desistance among incarcerated desisting fathers could be due to incapacitation and lack of opportunity to engage in crime. However, the group-based trajectories used to select this sample accounted for the effect of institutional confinement on self-reported patterns of offending [53, 62]; thus, persisting fathers experienced similar lengths of time incarcerated and were, presumably, similarly deprived of opportunity to engage in crime.

  6. Participants were informed of how their confidentiality would be protected, of the risks and benefits of participation to them, and of their right to withdraw from the interview at any time. Through the consent procedure, participants were advised that participating in the study would not help them in any way with any court proceedings, parole or probation hearings, or relationships with court personnel.

  7. All community and jailed informants received $100 for participation; Pennsylvania State Correctional Institutions (SCIs) forbade payment to inmates.

  8. All names have been changed to pseudonyms. All quotations are presented largely verbatim to preserve the intentions and character of the informants who provided them; thus, slang, colloquialisms, word misuse, or slips of grammar have been preserved. When quotations were edited, it was to remove irrelevant segments or interviewer’s interjections (indicated by […]) or distracting verbal tics that do not contribute to the meaning or context of the accounts (such as excessive use of “um,” “like,” or “do you know what I mean”).

  9. Peter’s self-reported offending data from the Pathways Study ends roughly a year before the qualitative interview, so his proclaimed abstinence cannot be confirmed. To the extent that we accept the validity of his previous self-report, we must accept the validity of his account.

  10. Yusef’s self-reported offending calendar data and other sections of his interview suggest this “rehabilitation” was short-lived.

  11. The cumulative investment in children is similar to the findings of Laub et al. [47] regarding marriage and desistance.

  12. A similar pattern might account for the difference between coresidential and noncoresidential fathers, though, arguably, to a lesser degree.

References

  1. Apel, R., & Horney, J. (2017). How and why does work matter? Employment conditions, routine activities, and crime among adult male offenders. Criminology, 55(2), 307–343. https://doi.org/10.1111/1745-9125.12134.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Augustine, J. M., Nelson, T., & Edin, K. (2009). Why do poor men have children? Fertility intentions among low-income unmarried U.S. fathers. Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 624(1), 99–117. https://doi.org/10.1177/0002716209334694.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Bachman, R., Kerrison, E. M., Paternoster, R., Smith, L., & O’Connell, D. (2016). The complex relationship between motherhood and desistance. Women and Criminal Justice, 26(3), 212–231. https://doi.org/10.1080/08974454.2015.1113153.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Bachu, A. (1996). Fertility of American men. Population division working paper no.14. Washington, DC: U.S. Bureau of the Census.

    Google Scholar 

  5. Bandura, A. (1982). Self-efficacy mechanism in human agency. American Psychologist, 37(2), 122–147. https://doi.org/10.1037/0003-066X.37.2.122.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Becker, H. S. (1960). Notes on the concept of commitment. American Journal of Sociology, 66(1), 32–40.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Becker, H. S. (1963). The outsiders: studies in the sociology of deviance. New York: Macmillan.

    Google Scholar 

  8. Bersani, B. E., & Doherty, E. E. (2013). When the ties that bind unwind: examining the enduring and situational processes of change behind the marriage effect. Criminology, 51(2), 399–433. https://doi.org/10.1111/1745-9125.12008.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Bersani, B. E., & Doherty, E. E. (2018). Desistance from offending in the twenty-first century. Annual Review of Criminology, 1(1), 1–24. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-criminol.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Blokland, A. A. J., & Nieuwbeerta, P. (2005). The effects of life circumstance on longitudinal trajectories of offending. Criminology, 43, 1203–1240. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1745-9125.2005.00037.x.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Bowman, P. J., & Forman, T. A. (1997). Instrumental and expressive family roles among African American fathers. In R. J. Taylor, J. S. Jackson, & L. M. Chatter (Eds.), Family life in Black America (pp. 216–247). Thousand Oaks: Sage.

    Google Scholar 

  12. Bushway, S. D. (1998). The impact of arrest on the job stability of young white American men. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, 35(4), 454–479. https://doi.org/10.1177/0022427898035004005.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Carlsson, C. (2012). Using “turning points” to understand processes of change in offending. British Journal of Criminology, 52(August 2011), 1–16. https://doi.org/10.1093/bjc/azr062.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Charmaz, K. (2006). Constructing grounded theory: a practical guide through qualitative analysis. Los Angeles: Sage.

    Google Scholar 

  15. Christiansen, S. L., & Palkovitz, R. (2001). Why the “good provider” role still matters: providing as a form of paternal involvement. Journal of Family Issues, 22, 84–106. https://doi.org/10.1177/019251301022001004.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Daly, K. J., Ashbourne, L., & Brown, J. L. (2012). A reorientation of worldview: children’s influence on fathers. Journal of Family Issues, 34(10), 1401–1424. https://doi.org/10.1177/0192513X12459016.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Denzin, N. K. (2002). The interpretive process. In A. M. Huberman & M. B. Miles (Eds.), The qualitative researcher’s companion (pp. 349–366). Thousand Oaks: Sage.

    Google Scholar 

  18. Doherty, E. E., & Bersani, B. E. (2016). Understanding the mechanisms of desistance at the intersection of race, gender, and neighborhood context. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, 53(5), 681–710. https://doi.org/10.1177/0022427816632573.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  19. Dyer, W. J. (2005). Prison, fathers, and identity: a theory of how incarceration affects men’s paternal identity. Fathering, 3(3), 201–219. https://doi.org/10.3149/fth.0303.201.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  20. Dyer, W. J., Pleck, J. H., & McBride, B. A. (2012). Imprisoned fathers and their family relationships: a 40-year review from a multi-theory view. Journal of Family Theory & Review, 4(March), 20–47. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1756-2589.2011.00111.x.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  21. Edin, K., & Kefalas, M. (2005). Promises I can keep: why poor women put motherhood before marriage. Berkeley: University of California Press.

    Google Scholar 

  22. Edin, K., & Nelson, T. J. (2013). Doing the best I can: fatherhood in the inner city. Berkeley: University of California Press.

    Google Scholar 

  23. Eggebeen, D. J., & Knoester, C. (2001). Does fatherhood matter for men? Journal of Marriage and Family, 63(2), 381–393. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1741-3737.2001.00381.x.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  24. Erikson, E. (1963). Childhood and society. Toronto: Norton.

    Google Scholar 

  25. Fader, J. J. (2013). Falling back: incarceration and transitions to adulthood among urban youth. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  26. Gauthier, A. H., & Furstenberg, F. F., Jr. (2002). The transition to adulthood: a time use perspective. The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 580(1), 153–171. https://doi.org/10.1177/000271620258000107.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  27. Giordano, P. C. (2016). Mechanisms underlying the desistance process: reflections on ‘a theory of cognitive transformation’. In S. Farrall, J. Shapland, & A. Bottoms (Eds.), Global perspectives on desistance: reviewing what we know and looking to the future (pp. 11–27). London: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  28. Giordano, P. C., Cernkovich, S. A., & Rudolph, J. L. (2002). Gender, crime, and desistance: toward a theory of cognitive transformation. American Journal of Sociology, 107(4), 990–1064. https://doi.org/10.1086/343191.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  29. Giordano, P. C., Schroeder, R. D., & Cernkovich, S. A. (2007). Emotions and crime over the life course: a neo-Meadian perspective on criminal continuity and change. American Journal of Sociology, 112(6), 1603–1661. https://doi.org/10.1086/512710.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  30. Giordano, P. C., Seffrin, P. M., Manning, W. D., & Longmore, M. A. (2011). Parenthood and crime: the role of wantedness, relationships with partners, and SES. Journal of Criminal Justice, 39(5), 405–416. https://doi.org/10.1016/J.JCRIMJUS.2011.05.006.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  31. Giordano, P. C., Johnson, W. L., Manning, W. D., Longmore, M. A., & Minter, M. D. (2015). Intimate partner violence in young adulthood: narratives of persistence and desistance. Criminology, 53(3), 330–365. https://doi.org/10.1111/1745-9125.12073.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  32. Glauber, R. (2008). Race and gender in families and at work: the fatherhood wage premium. Gender & Society, 22(1), 8–30. https://doi.org/10.1177/0891243207311593.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  33. Goffman, A. (2009). On the run: wanted men in a Philadelphia ghetto. American Sociological Review, 74(3), 339–357. https://doi.org/10.1177/000312240907400301.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  34. Graham, J., & Bowling, B. (1995). Young people and crime. Research study 145. London.

  35. Hamer, J. F. (1998). The definition of fatherhood: in the words of never-married African American custodial mothers and the noncustodial fathers of their children. Journal of Sociology and Social Welfare, 25(4), 81–104.

    Google Scholar 

  36. Hirschi, T. (1969). Causes of delinquency. Berkeley: University of California Press.

    Google Scholar 

  37. Hughes, M. (1998). Turning points in the lives of young inner-city men forgoing destructive criminal behaviors: a qualitative study. Social Work Research, 22(3), 143–151. https://doi.org/10.1093/swr/22.3.143.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  38. Ihinger-Tallman, M., Pasley, K., & Buehler, C. (1993). Developing a middle-range theory of father involvement postdivorce. Journal of Family Issues, 14(4), 550–571. https://doi.org/10.1177/019251393014004005.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  39. Kerr, D. C. R., Capaldi, D. M., Owen, L. D., Weisner, M., & Pears, K. C. (2011). Changes in at-risk American men’s crime and substance use trajectories following fatherhood. The Journal of Marriage and Family, 73, 1101–1116. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1741-3737.2011.00864.x.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  40. Knoester, C., & Eggebeen, D. J. (2006). The effects of the transition to parenthood and subsequent children on men’s well-being and social participation. Journal of Family Issues., 27, 1532–1560.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  41. Knoester, C., Petts, R. J., & Eggebeen, D. J. (2007). Commitments to fathering and the well-being and social participation of new, disadvantaged fathers. Journal of Marriage and Family, 69(4), 991–1004. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1741-3737.2007.00426.x.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  42. Lamb, M. E., & Tamis-Lemonda, C. S. (2004). The role of the father: an introduction. In M. E. Lamb (Ed.), The role of the father in child development (4th ed., pp. 1–31). Hoboken: Wiley.

    Google Scholar 

  43. Landers, M. D., Mitchell, O., & Coates, E. E. (2015). Teenage fatherhood as a potential turning point in the lives of delinquent youth. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 24(6), 1685–1696. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10826-014-9971-y.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  44. LaRossa, R. (1988). Fatherhood and social change. Family Relations, 37(4), 451. https://doi.org/10.2307/584119.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  45. Laub, J. H., & Sampson, R. J. (2001). Understanding desistance from crime. Crime and Justice: A Review of the Research, 28, 1–69.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  46. Laub, J. H., & Sampson, R. J. (2003). Shared beginnings, divergent lives: delinquent boys to age 70. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  47. Laub, J. H., Nagin, D. S., & Sampson, R. J. (1998). Trajectories of change in criminal offending: good marriages and the desistance process. American Sociological Review, 63(2), 225–238.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  48. LeBel, T. P., Burnett, R., Maruna, S., & Bushway, S. (2008). The ‘chicken and egg’ of subjective and social factors in desistance from crime. European Journal of Criminology, 5(2), 131–159. https://doi.org/10.1177/1477370807087640.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  49. Maruna, S. (2001). Making good: how ex-convicts reform and rebuild their lives. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  50. Massoglia, M., & Uggen, C. (2007). Subjective desistance and the transition to adulthood. Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice, 23, 90–103. https://doi.org/10.1177/1043986206298950.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  51. Mitchell, O., Landers, M., & Morales, M. (2017). The contingent effects of fatherhood on offending. American Journal of Criminal Justice., 43, 603–626. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12103-017-9418-2.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  52. Monsbakken, C. W., Lyngstad, T. H., & Skardhamar, T. (2013). Crime and the transition to parenthood the role of sex and relationship context. British Journal of Criminology, 53, 129–148. https://doi.org/10.1093/bjc/azs052.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  53. Mulvey, E. P., Steinberg, L., Piquero, A. R., Besana, M., Fagan, J., Schubert, C., & Cauffman, E. (2010). Trajectories of desistance and continuity in antisocial behavior following court adjudication among serious adolescent offenders. Development and Psychopathology, 22, 453–475. https://doi.org/10.1017/S095457941000057X.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  54. Na, C. (2016). The consequences of fatherhood transition among disadvantaged male offenders: does timing matter? Journal of Developmental and Life-Course Criminology Life Course Criminology, 2, 182–208. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40865-015-0022-1.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  55. Nagin, D. S., & Land, K. C. (1993). Age, criminal careers, and population heterogeneity: specification and estimation of a nonparametric, mixed Poisson model. Criminology, 31(3), 327–362.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  56. Nelson, T. J. (2004). Low-income fathers. Annual Review of Sociology, 30(1), 427–451. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev.soc.29.010202.095947.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  57. Nomaguchi, K. M., & Milkie, M. A. (2003). Costs and rewards of children: the effects of becoming a parent on adults’ lives. Journal of Marriage and Family, 65(2), 356–374.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  58. Osgood, D. W., Wilson, J. K., O’Malley, P. M., Bachman, J. G., & Johnston, L. D. (1996). Routine activities and individual deviant behavior. American Sociological Review, 61(4), 635. https://doi.org/10.2307/2096397.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  59. Paternoster, R. (2017). Happenings, acts, and actions: articulating the meaning and implications of human agency for criminology. Journal of Developmental & Life-Course Criminology, 3, 350–372. https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781107415324.004.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  60. Paternoster, R., & Bushway, S. (2009). Desistance and the “feared self”: toward an identity theory of criminal desistance. The Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, 99(4), 1103–1156.

    Google Scholar 

  61. Paternoster, R., Bachman, R., Bushway, S., Kerrison, E., & O’Connell, D. (2015). Human agency and explanations of criminal desistance: arguments for a rational choice theory. Journal of Developmental and Life-Course Criminology, 1(3), 209–235. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40865-015-0013-2.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  62. Piquero, A. R., Monahan, K. C., Glasheen, C., Schubert, C. A., & Mulvey, E. P. (2013). Does time matter? Comparing trajectory concordance and covariate association using time-based and age-based assessments. Crime & Delinquency, 59(5), 738–763. https://doi.org/10.1177/0011128712459491.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  63. Roy, K. (2004). You can’t eat love: constructing provider role expectations for low-income and working-class fathers. Fathering: A Journal of Theory, Research, and Practice about Men as Fathers, 2(3), 253–276. https://doi.org/10.3149/fth.0203.253.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  64. Roy, K., & Dyson, O. (2005). Gatekeeping in context: babymama drama and the involvement of incarcerated fathers. Fathering: A Journal of Theory, Research, and Practice about Men as Fathers, 3(3), 289–310. https://doi.org/10.3149/fth.0303.289.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  65. Sampson, R. J., & Laub, J. H. (1993). Crime in the making: pathways and turning points through life. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  66. Schubert, C. A., Mulvey, E. P., Steinberg, L., Cauffman, E., Losoya, S. H., Hecker, T., Chassin, L., & Knight, G. P. (2004). Operational lessons from the Pathways to Desistance Project. Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice, 2, 237–255. https://doi.org/10.1177/1541204004265875.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  67. Shannon, S. K. S., & Abrams, L. S. (2007). Juvenile offenders as fathers: perceptions of fatherhood, crime, and becoming an adult. Families in Society: The Journal of Contemporary Social Services, 88(2), 183–191. https://doi.org/10.1606/1044-3894.3616.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  68. Siennick, S. E., & Osgood, D. W. (2008). A review of research on the impact on crime of transitions to adult roles. In A. M. Liberman (Ed.), The long view of crime: a synthesis of longitudinal research (pp. 161–187). New York: Springer. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-0-387-71165-2_5.

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  69. Tremblay, M. D., Sutherland, J. E., & Day, D. M. (2017). Fatherhood and delinquency: an examination of risk factors and offending patterns associated with fatherhood status among serious juvenile offenders. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 26(3), 677–689. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10826-016-0590-7.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  70. Turney, K., & Wildeman, C. (2013). Redefining relationships: explaining the countervailing consequences of paternal incarceration for parenting. American Sociological Review, 78(6), 949–979. https://doi.org/10.1177/0003122413505589.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  71. Uggen, C., & Kruttschnitt, C. (1998). Crime in the breaking: gender differences in desistance. Law & Society Review, 32(2), 339–366. https://doi.org/10.2307/827766.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  72. Uggen, C., & Thompson, M. (2003). The socioeconomic determinants of ill-gotten gains: within-person changes in drug use and illegal earnings. American Journal of Sociology., 109, 146–185.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  73. Uggen, C., & Wakefield, S. (2005). Young adults reentering the community from the criminal justice system: challenges to adulthood. In D. W. Osgood, E. M. Foster, C. Flanagan, & G. R. Ruth (Eds.), On your own without a net: the transition to adulthood for vulnerable populations (pp. 114–144). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

    Google Scholar 

  74. Visher, C. A. (2013). Incarcerated fathers. Criminal Justice Policy Review, 24(1), 9–26. https://doi.org/10.1177/0887403411418105.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  75. Waller, M. R. (2009). Family man in the other america: new opportunities, motivations, and supports for paternal caregiving. Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 624(1), 156–176. https://doi.org/10.1177/0002716209334372.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  76. Warin, J., Solomon, Y., Lewis, C., & Langford, W. (1999). Fathers, work, and family life. London.

  77. Warr, M. (1998). Life-course transitions and desistance from crime. Criminology, 36(2), 183–216. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1745-9125.1998.tb01246.x.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  78. Weiss, R. S. (1994). Learning from strangers: the art and method of qualitative interview studies. New York: The Free Press.

    Google Scholar 

  79. Wilkinson, D. L., Magora, A., Garcia, M., & Khurana, A. (2009). Fathering at the margins of society. Journal of Family Issues, 30(7), 945–967. https://doi.org/10.1177/0192513X09332354.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  80. Yule, C., Paré, P.-P., & Gartner, R. (2015). An examination of the local life circumstances of female offenders: mothering, illegal earnings and drug use. British Journal of Criminology, 55(2), 248–269. https://doi.org/10.1093/bjc/azu073.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  81. Ziegler, J. A., Kuhl, D. C., Swisher, R. R., & Chavez, J. M. (2017). Parenthood residency status and criminal desistance across neighborhood contexts. Deviant Behavior, 38(1), 17–33. https://doi.org/10.1080/01639625.2016.1189758.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  82. Zoutewelle-Terovan, M., van der Geest, V., Liefbroer, A., & Bijleveld, C. (2014). Criminality and family formation. Crime & Delinquency, 60(8), 1209–1234. https://doi.org/10.1177/0011128712441745.

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgments

I am indebted to Ray Paternoster for his guidance on developing the ideas that became this study. Thanks also to Joel Powell, Katie Richardson Jens, Kjersten Nelson, and the anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments on earlier drafts of this article.

Funding

The author gratefully acknowledges the funding for the reported study from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, supplemental funding for Grant #2007-50220-PA-JL. The larger Pathways to Desistance Study was funded by the following government agencies and foundations: Arizona Governor’s Justice Commission, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institute of Justice, Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, William Penn Foundation, and William T. Grant Foundation.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Sarah Boonstoppel.

Additional information

Publisher’s Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Boonstoppel, S. “It’s Not About Me No More”: Fatherhood and Mechanisms of Desistance Among At-Risk Men. J Dev Life Course Criminology 5, 335–365 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40865-019-00120-9

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Revised:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s40865-019-00120-9

Keywords

  • Desistance
  • Fatherhood
  • Routine activities
  • Identity
  • Cognitive shifts