Can they recover? An assessment of adult adjustment problems among males in the abstainer, recovery, life-course persistent, and adolescence-limited pathways followed up to age 56 in the Cambridge Study in Delinquent Development

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Development and Psychopathology

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Much research has examined Moffitt's developmental taxonomy, focusing almost exclusively on the distinction between life-course persistent and adolescence-limited offenders. Of interest, a handful of studies have identified a group of individuals whose early childhood years were marked by extensive antisocial behavior but who seemed to recover and desist (at least from severe offending) in adolescence and early adulthood. We use data from the Cambridge Study in Delinquent Development to examine the adult adjustment outcomes of different groups of offenders, including a recoveries group, in late middle adulthood, offering the most comprehensive investigation of this particular group to date. Findings indicate that abstainers comprise the largest group of males followed by adolescence-limited offenders, recoveries, and life-course persistent offenders. Furthermore, the results reveal that a host of adult adjustment problems measured at ages 32 and 48 in a number of life-course domains are differentially distributed across these four offender groups. In addition, the recoveries and life-course persistent offenders often show the greatest number of adult adjustment problems relative to the adolescence-limited offenders and abstainers.

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