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developmental theory

The view that criminality is a dynamic process, influenced by social experiences as well as individual characteristics.

latent trait theory

The view that criminal behavior is controlled by a "master trait", present at birth or soon after, that remains stable and unchanging throughout a persons lifetime.

life course theory

Theory that focuses on changes in criminality over the life course; developmental theory.

latent trait

A stable feature, characteristic, property, or condition, such as defective intelligence or impulsive personality, that makes some people crime prone over the life course.

general theory of crime (GTC)

A developmental theory that modifies social control theory by intergrating concepts from biosocial, psychological, routine activities, and rational choice theories.


Offender who follows the most common criminal trajectory, in which antisocial behavior peaks in adolescence and then diminishes.

life course persister

One of the small group of offenders whose criminal career continues well into adulthood.


Characteristics of life course persisters, who tend to engage in early sexuality and drug use.

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