The Development of Physical Aggression
During Childhood and the Prediction of Later
RICHARD E. TREMBLAY
Using data on the prevalence of serious violent crimes from the American National Youth Survey, Elliott (1994) reported that black and white adolescent males and females in the United States became more and more at risk of committing serious violent crimes as they grew older, from 12 to 17 years of age. This sharp increase of violence was then followed, from ages 18 to 27, by an equally dramatic fall in the prevalence of serious violence. Violence appeared to peak at 17 years of age for both black and white adolescents in this national probability sample born between 1959 and 1965. This phenomenon has been labeled the age-crime curve (Farrington, 1987) and appears to have first been published by the Belgian astronomer-statistician-criminologist Adolfe Quetelet in his 1833 book entitled Research on the Propensity for Crime at Different Ages.
The author wishes to acknowledge the generous support of the National Science Foundation through the National Consortium on Violence Research, the Molson Foundation, the Donner Foundation, the Canadian Institute of Advanced Research, the Québec funding agencies CQRS, FCAR, FRSQ, the Québec Ministry of Health and Social Services, Santé Québec, the Canadian funding agencies NHRDP, SSHRC, the Canadian Ministry of Human Resources Development, and Statistics Canada. A large number of colleagues have contributed to the work presented in this chapter. Special thanks go to Daniel Nagin, Frank Vitaro, Michel Boivin, Mark Zoccolillo, Raymond Baillargeon, Lisa Broidy, Christa Japel, Daniel Pérusse, Jean Séguin, Robert Pihl, Linda Pagani, Jacques Montplaisir, and Ronald G. Barr. A still larger number of support personnel have been instrumental in making this longitudinal work possible. The author is especially grateful to Lyse Desmarais-Gervais, Hélène Beauchesne, Pierre McDuff, Chantal Bruneau, and Katia Maliantovitch.