Desistance from Crime and Deviance as a Turning Point in the Life Course

  • Christopher Uggen
  • Michael Massoglia
Part of the Handbooks of Sociology and Social Research book series (HSSR)


The transition to adulthood has generally become more individualized in the past 50 years, with fewer young people attaining the classic markers of adult status in an orderly progression (4; 43). The average age of first marriage or age of entry into full-time employment has also increased dramatically in recent decades [51]. Despite such changes, however, the notion that adults eventually “settle down” and desist from delinquent and deviant behaviors persists across shifting familial and economic arrangements. As they become fully fledged adults, people generally cease or at least moderate many forms of criminal behavior, substance use, and other antisocial activities. In this chapter, we summarize theory and research on desistance from crime and deviance and explore the extent to which such desistance constitutes a separate dimension of the multifaceted transition to adulthood.


Binge Drinking Criminal Behavior Deviant Behavior American Sociological Review Justice Statistics 
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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christopher Uggen
    • 1
  • Michael Massoglia
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of SociologyUniversity of MinnesotaMinneapolis

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