Like Father, Like Son

Van de Rakt, M., Nieuwbeerta P., & Graaf, de., ND. (2008) Like father, like son? The relationship between conviction trajectories of fathers and their sons and daughters. British journal of criminology, 48 (2), 538-556.

This study elaborates on the relationship between convictions of fathers and the development of convictions of their offspring over the lifespan. Unique official data from the Netherlands Criminal Career and Life Course Study (CCLS) are used to investigate the intergenerational transmission of criminal behaviour (8,085 sons and daughters and an observation period of over 40 years). Trajectory modelling and growth curve analysis are used to establish (1) differences between the criminal careers of children from different groups of fathers and (2) differences within the groups of children in the development of their individual criminal careers. The findings demonstrate that children of convicted fathers are much more likely to be convicted themselves in comparison to those whose fathers have never been convicted. Also, children of highly persistent fathers tend to commit more delinquent acts in every phase of their lives than children of law-abiding fathers. An additional analysis shows the existence of four distinct trajectory groups (non-delinquents, moderate desisters, early desisters and chronics) amongst the children.