Identifying gendered trajectories of offending for a panel of first time youth offenders: exploring the influence of time-stable covariates
Gendered trajectories of juvenile offending over an eight year observation period are specified for a retrospective longitudinal sample of 15,959 female and male first time offenders up to age 18 in a southeastern state. Semiparametric group modeling is used to specify offending trajectories for a response variable operationalized as a frequency count of unique complaints by age. Time-stable psychosocial and systems-level covariates are also investigated as predictors of likely trajectory group membership. The probability of trajectory group membership is investigated as a predictor for secure incarceration. Results specify a three-solution model for juvenile females and a six-solution model for juvenile males. Prior child maltreatment - substantiated as well as alleged but dismissed - is a predictor of moderate- to higher-level offending across all gendered trajectories (with the exception of one higher-level but decreasing male trajectory). Living in a blended family (mother plus stepfather or father plus stepmother), living with grandparents, and living with relatives at first offense are all correlated with moderate -level offending for male juveniles. Living in foster care at first offense is a predictor for both lower-level and higher-level female offending. Both the three-solution female model and the six-solution male model predict incarceration. Further research is warranted to investigate severity of offending as a response variable for the juvenile offending trajectories identified in the dissertation study.