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Doctor of Philosophy




Paul C. Whitehead


The current study systematically assesses four mainstream theories – General Theory of Crime, Interactional Theory, Dual Taxonomy, and Age-graded Theory of Informal Social control – of criminal behaviour over the life-course; while examining the role of gender and several measures argued to be important in explaining the criminal behaviour of women. This study also explores both the within- and between-person variance (i.e., the role of population heterogeneity) and lag effects (i.e., the role of state dependence) in explaining the criminal behaviour. Random-Effects Negative Binomial Models were used to predict both serious and non-serious criminal behaviour over the life-course using panel data collected in the National Youth Survey. This study shows: 1) further integration of theories is required to better explain criminal behaviour; at minimum, current life-course theories need to consider additional factors in explaining criminal behaviour; 2) gender-specific theorizing and modelling about criminal behaviour are not necessary when theories are integrative; 3) random-effects modelling is useful in considering both between and within-individual effects while providing the opportunity to assess both population heterogeneity and state dependence; 4) lag effects are important in explaining the criminal behaviour of men and women. The findings in this study enhance our understanding of the role of gender, population heterogeneity, and state dependence in criminal behaviour and can play a role in the development of future theory development, research methods, and policy. These findings provide impetus for further integration of criminological theories and the explicit inclusion of the concepts of population heterogeneity and state dependence.

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