Snares or Turning Points? Examining the Relevance of Fatherhood Entry Timing and Number of Children for Offending in Adulthood

Published date01 March 2021
Date01 March 2021
Subject MatterArticles
Snares or Turning Points?
Examining the Relevance of
Fatherhood Entry Timing and
Number of Children for
Offending in Adulthood
Thomas W. Wojciechowski
Past research on desistance from offending has indicated the importance of both turning points and
snares in the life course. Despite similarities, there has been little effort to reconcile the intertwined
nature of these twoconcepts. The present study seeksto provide understanding of how thetiming of
entering fatherhood and the number of children that afather sires in adolescence influences offending
in early adulthood among a sampleof juvenile offenders. Usingthe Pathways to Desistancedata, group-
based trajectory modeling was used to elucidate trajectories of the number of children had by
participants in this study. Negative binomial regression is then used to determine the relevance of
trajectorygroup assignment for predicting offendingfrequency in early adulthood.Results indicate that
a six-group model best fit the data. Regression results indicate that individuals assigned to the High
Acceleratingand No Children groups offended at greaterfrequency in early adulthoodthan individuals
assigned to the Early Stable group. Results i ndicate that having a child earlier in adolescence may act as
a turning point leadingto deceleration in offending. However, having multiplechildren during this time
may act as a snare, restricting opportunities to transition to a normative lifestyle.
quantitative methods, other, crime over the life course, crime/delinquency theory, juvenile justice
Becoming a father and starting a family has long been considered a major life event. For many, this
represents a profound change in life, as responsibilities and priorities shift to raising a child for the
next few decades. Past criminological research has noted the importance of this event in adulthood
as being relevant for understanding a shift away from deviant lifestyles and peers who characterize
adolescence (Pyrooz et al., 2017; Sampson & Laub, 1995). Empirical research supports these
Michigan State University, Michigan, MI, USA
Corresponding Author:
Thomas W. Wojciechowski, Michigan State University, School of Criminal Justice, 655 Auditorium Road, East Lansing,
Michigan, MI 48824, USA.
Criminal Justice Review
2021, Vol. 46(1) 5-19
ª2020 Georgia State University
Article reuse guidelines:
DOI: 10.1177/0734016820924095

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