Pubertal timing and adult criminal behavior
Klopack, Eric Thomas
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The criminogenic effects of a hostile view of relationships and low levels of self-control are among the most replicated in trait-based criminology. Some researchers in evolutionary anthropology and human development have argued that risky and antisocial behavior can be explained by bodily developments (often measured by pubertal timing) that occur in response to evolutionary pressures. Life history (LH) theory argues that environmental unpredictability and harshness in childhood cause accelerated development, which predicts risky sexual behavior. Researchers in the LH perspective have recently expanded their arguments to suggest that hostility, self-control, and externalizing problems are part of a reproductive strategy. This paper compares hypotheses stemming from LH theory and two traditional theories of crime and evaluates the value added by the LH perspective. Analyses indicate modest evidence for an LH explanation of crime. Other explanations for the relationships between pubertal timing and crime and implications for future research are discussed.