Developmental Sequences in Delinquency: Dynamic Typologies
David Huizinga University of Colorado
There has been recent interest in the notion of developmental sequences, pathways, or progressions in delinquent behavior ( Farrington, Ohlin, & Wilson 1986; Huizinga, Esbensen, & Weiher, 1991; Loeber & LeBlanc, 1990; Loeber et al., 1993), although it is not perfectly clear whether references to such sequences or pathways refer to growth curves of particular kinds of delinquent behavior, normative behavior patterns for specific ages, sequences of ages of initiation of different behaviors, or the movement between various types and levels of involvement in delinquent behavior. In addition, given a particular notion of a sequence or pathway, it is not clear what kinds of procedures can or should be used in identifying a specific pathway and the individuals who traverse it. Also, as Loeber et al. ( 1993) noted, there are only a few studies examining developmental sequences of delinquency, and even fewer prospective studies examining this issue. As a result, little is known about the paths taken in a delinquent or criminal career or the long-term adult outcome of child and/or adolescent delinquent involvement, although some findings and considerations about these issues can be found in Moffit ( 1993), Farrington ( 1986), and Elliott ( 1994).
In this chapter, a typological approach is used to provide some preliminary examination of developmental sequences in delinquent behavior over the child to adolescent years. Thus, the focus is on the through-time movement of individuals through various types or combinations of delinquent behavior, rather than on the through-time changes or relationship of particular variables. In this sense, a pathway represents a particular sequence of behaviors